TV Stardom, Cafeteria & My Minneapolis Rooftop Roundup

What a week. It looked for awhile like I was going to be on a Bravo pilot as a cooking competition judge, and now it looks like I won’t be. Too bad, so sad, I was almost Paula Abdul! For a more concrete bit of stardom, set your video whoosigigs to record No Reservations on July 12, because Doug Flicker of Piccolo (in serious running to be the restaurant of 2010) will be on it. Much deserved. Can’t wait.

But back to me. Me me me, the lamentable endlessness of me. Where did I drown my sorrows? Uptown’s newest, of course: Cafeteria. Like everyone else in this city, I went to Parasole’s newest venture about two seconds after they unwrapped their deep fryer. Here’s my too-early review: Fun! Cute! I stepped out of the elevator to the rooftop deck and immediately felt like I was on vacation, pre-Great Recession—like I was in a Thompson boutique hotel in New York, or somewhere I’ve never been in Miami. The effect was created by all the architectural wood screens and chic seating. And you know what? That posh feeling is much appreciated. I thought the food ran the gamut from decent (the burger, with a beautiful sesame-seed-saturated bun), to amusingly decadent (a rec-room sized bowl of freshly fried potato chips covered with gobs of blue cheese and at least a quarter-pound of chopped bacon—the only way this thing could be less healthy is if the bowl itself was made from a fried macrame basket of bacon, served to you as you jumped from an airplane), to lackluster (rethink your fried chicken, please). But I hardly care about the food: It’s so fun, it’s so needed. We need more fun in this town. So go! If you haven’t already. But I think you have.

But, you ask, what if I’m a rooftop deck completist and want to go to every notable Minneapolis rooftop? Here’s your dance card:

Stella’s Fish Café
Good oysters, a good view, and thronging crowd. Is there anything more to say? I think not.

I don’t know what the appeal of this place is, but if you like websites with girls suggestively taking off their clothes, $2.50 spiced rum specials, and steaks for less than $10, drink up.
Uptown Drink,

The only sake-brew-pub outside of Japan, this was 2009’s rooftop sensation, but if you missed it last year: Still excellent! I like the pork buns too.

As a result of the Scandal that Will Submerge Us All, Tim McKee, the best chef the Twin Cities has ever had, is on hand at Solera almost every night cooking in the tapas bar, and the general quality of food there has gotten even better than it was. And they have a chic and sexy urban roof.

Well, we have to mention the see-and-be-seen power-drinking that is Seven Sushi Ultralounge and Skybar. Right? Giant fire pits. Bottle service! Cigar humidor with ultrapremium cigars! All you can eat sushi for $30 Sunday nights—but not on the roof, only on the second-floor sushi lounge. I called to check.

We can’t talk downtown roofs without mentioning the grandaddy of them all, Brit’s, which has a huge 10,000 square foot lawn-bowling garden right off Nicollet Mall in the center of downtown Minneapolis—and another rooftop overlooking that. With the best fish and chips in downtown, put that next to a Bass or a Tetley’s or a Strongbow cider and: You’re in England! Or not at all, but whatever. Here’s something to think about: What if Brit’s added another rooftop to overlook it’s new rooftop-overlooking-rooftop, and another rooftop overlooking that rooftop-overlooker? And what if you said that eight times fast? Would Minneapolis resemble that Escher print of staircases leading to staircases leading to staircases? Yes, I think it would. Discuss. But only after several pints.

And that’s it! Have a happy Fourth of July everyone. I’m off on vacation till the week of the 12th. So no one break any news! Or alternately, go nuts! Chefs: Stab, poison, and burn with impunity, no one is watching. Chef Brown, now’s the time to get that press release out. I keep hearing you’re going into the Rice Paper space. Are you really? Send me a postcard. Ciao!