I love to visit fantastic restaurants when we travel, but we don’t have to go too far to enjoy some amazing eating establishments, right here at home in the Twin Cities. Tom and I have been season ticket holders to both the Ordway and the Hennepin Theater Trust Season for over 15 years. When we get the opportunity, we like to dine out before the show. Over the years we have had many favorites, and some one-time only visits. Here are some of the restaurants in the area that we visited in the past year.
There are not many photos to accompany my reviews, being that unlike on vacation, where I carry my camera everywhere, I often forget to bring it with when dining with friends, or just celebrating some alone time with Tom.
The first restaurant on my list is Bank. Tom and I dined there recently with my brothers Chris and Joe and my sister Theresa. Bank is a newly opened place, (with great reviews,) that is located in the lobby of the new Westin Hotel. The building used to house the Farmers and Merchants Bank on 6th street in Downtown Minneapolis, giving the eatery its name. The old teller counter is now a long bar where you can sit at and watch as the kitchen prepares your food. The old bank vault is now the unique home of the great wine vault. The space is wide open and very comfortable. The real reason to visit Bank is the food. Executive Chef Todd Stein has put together an amazing menu that has something for everyone. Our party tried many things on the menu, including the roasted baby beet salad with golden raisin-cashew pesto and yogurt, and the romaine heart caesar salad, that came with large serving spoons filled with all the garnishes, so you only put on what you like.
The best thing on the menu,( in my opinion) and the reason I can’t wait to go back, was the wild mushroom risotto. There was maitake, shitake, and oyster mushrooms, with creme fraiche and parmigiano. Wow!! I had to share with everyone, but next time, it’s all mine.
We also had the beef carpaccio, and salt and pepper fried calamari, that we shared around the table. Theresa and Joe each had the seared walleye with butter-poached lobster, brussel sprouts, and butternut squash puree. Tom went with the wasabi pea crusted ahi tuna, with haricot verts, black tapioca,in a red wine syrup. Very nice spice, and very fresh tasting. Chris enjoyed the chili and fennel rubbed wild acres chicken, with roasted asparagus, tuscan kale, lemon-thyme reduction.
I ordered the short rib lollipop with sweet potato hash, horseradish emulsion, and natural jus. This was great. The tender short rib fell right of the bone and had such a great natural flavor. I really enjoyed my whole meal.
Bank also has a great bar and wine list. Tom started with an Old Cuban, Theresa and Joe sampled some of there many house martinis, Chris went for a beer, and I enjoyed a glass of Whoop-Whoop Shiraz from South Australlia. The first time I order Whoop-Whoop, it was because the name was so fun, but I really liked it and order it when I find it on a wine list. Bank has a great wine list with over 20 by the glass choices and bottles from vineyards all over the world and at every bodies budget. Great bottles for around $30, to the high end upwards of $250. For dinner, I got to pick the bottle and we enjoyed a wonderful, smooth Rubicon Cask. It is a real treat for those nights that you just know that life is good and family makes it better.
So, Bank tops my list for favorite new restaurants, and I can’t wait to go back. More local favorites to come soon!