Braised Mussels at Grand Cafe. Photos by TJ Turner.
Each month, in our Restaurants Revisited conversation, MnMo food critics Jason DeRusha and Joy Summers return to an “old favorite” restaurant and assess how it’s faring.
Jason: Walking into Kingfield’s Grand Café with my family on a recent Sunday night felt like visiting an old friend. Local blues legend Cornbread Harris was playing the piano to celebrate his 89th birthday and owner Mary Hunter was working the room, to many smiles.
Joy: The longtime café has worn to a comfortable patina: blonde wood, framed art posters, and a crowd that suggests we could linger all night and make new friends.
Jason: Mary and her husband, Dan, took over Grand Café in 2006. It’s always been a great spot for brunch, but dinner has changed over the years as chefs have come and gone.
Joy: The menu isn’t avant-garde, but each chef leaves a mark. The place is a foam-free zone. Classic dishes like risotto dot the modest list with approachable, crowd-pleasing plates.
Jason: Sunday night is Sicilian Style Pizza night—for less than $10 you can get a quarter of a pan pizza, with four good-sized square pieces. We had meatballs and pickled peppers for toppings, and thought the sauce was rich and flavorful, although the crust was a little overcooked.
Joy: It’s a focaccia crust: hefty, but delicious. Ours was perfectly cooked, crackly crisp on the outside. I can’t believe how much food you get for that price. We also ordered a Spanish-style octopus appetizer that was a divine melding of salty, herby, bright, and rich.
Jason: We loved the braised mussels in a delightful red curry broth with pickled chickpeas—truly a flavor explosion. I really enjoyed the octopus too, a great pairing with light and airy clouds of burrata cheese and a caper salsa verde.
Joy: They’ve also got some new cocktails, including a splash of prosecco mixed with a tart blueberry shrub that made for a fun sipper.
Jason: The restaurant’s layout is a little quirky, as befits a neighborhood place, with a series of smallish rooms and tiny bar. That creates a romantic and intimate vibe, and combined with warm service, it’s what you’d expect of a European bistro.
Grand Café Quick Tips
When to visit: Weekends hum with a delicious brunch and the fantastic Sunday night pizza value
Good for kids? Yes
Price point: It’s easy to leave satisfied for $20—dinner entrees max out at $25 for a NY Strip
Grand Café, 3804 Grand Ave. S., Mpls., 612-822-8260, grandcafempls.com