The Draft Horse Pairs Minnesota Ingredients with a European Vibe

The Draft Horse’s Beef Short Ribs. Photos by TJ Turner.

Each month, in our restaurant rumble conversation, MnMo food critics Jason DeRusha and Joy Summers review two restaurants as a duo and pick a winner.

Jason: This feels like a European restaurant: narrow, dark, and tucked away on a Northeast Minneapolis residential street.

Joy: It was once a stable; wooden benches and chairs reinforce the historic feel.

Jason: They take advantage of their neighbors in the Food Building: It’s worth a visit for the Lone Grazer Creamery cheese plates and the Red Table Meat Company’s world-class salumis.  

Joy: The menu is modest, pulling mainly on those products, locally sourced meats, vegetables, and Patisserie 46 baguettes all in different arrangements.

Jason: I liked the idea of the cheese curds, served fresh and topped with a vegetable gravy and fried onion, but I did not like that gravy. It was thin and flavorless.

Joy: So it wasn’t just me. I thought my meat sandwich had mystery cheese on it, but the whitish substance dripping off the top was actually the gravy. I swear I thought it was flavorless, odorless Taleggio or something. 

The Draft Horse Bar

Jason: I was so looking forward to the Kadejan Farms chicken in their homemade pot pies. The crust was buttery and delicious, but the pot pie was mostly vegetables and that same boring gravy!

Joy: Gravy paste! It’s tenacious gravy paste. They work that stuff into nearly every dish. We got the beef short rib pot pie—a little salt and herbs, even a few sprigs of thyme, would go a long way. 

Jason: There are things I loved: the whiskey onion soup with beef stock from Peterson Farms, and Lone Grazer cheese melted on top is instantly my favorite French onion–style soup in town.

Joy: I thought the broth was thin, but did like the flavor. I’d order that again.

Jason: I also highly recommend the dinnertime meat platter: Fred Flintstone would have approved of the giant short ribs served with delicious warm cabbage for just $20. It would have been close to enough for me, my wife, and my two kids.

Joy: I was shocked by how much I adored the side of Brussels sprouts: tartly dressed with really good bacon. If I lived in the neighborhood, I’d be happy to graze here, but I’m not quite sure it’s worth the drive across town.

brussels Sprouts side dish

The Draft Horse Quick Tips:

Noise level: Boisterous

Gluten-free friendly? Best be able to digest bread and whatever’s in that gravy

Seating: Intimate

Whiskey onion soup

May’s restaurant rumble pitted modern farmhouse-inspired Heirloom against European flavored Draft Horse. Find out which restaurant Jason and Joy chose as the winner in the May issue of MnMo.

The Draft Horse, 117 14th Ave. NE, Mpls., 612-208-1476,