We get it. It’s gray and warmish or bright and coldish depending on the hour. You are side-eyeing your long sweaters and wishing for a light jacket situation, and perhaps you’re willing to sport an open-toe in defiance. What you really need is a new night out, so TGIRW (Thank Gawd It’s Restaurant Week).
Here’s the dish on the things I would eat if I could be everywhere next week with the metabolism of a ChatGPT.
Welcome EaTo to the RW fam! the downtown spot on Washington Ave. has a $15 two-course lunch deal that includes minestrone, and Italian chopped salad, pesto pasta, a meatball hoagie, and more. The $35 three-course dinner levels up with a gorgonzola beet salad, hand-cut pappardelle with bolognese, classic chicken parm with bucatini, and a couple of wood-fired pizzas. Get the olive oil cake for dessert, it’s a winner.
The Lynhall, the OG on Lyndale, is in! On the $25 three-course lunch menu, I’m starting with sunchoke and mushroom soup followed by grilled haloumi sandwich for a most elegant soup:cheese ratio. On the $45 three-course dinner menu, I realize I could go pickled Scotch eggs followed by fish and chips, but I’m leaning toward that fennel cured whitefish, with a chilled cucumber brodo, chased by sweet potato gnocchi and smoked mozzarella fonduta. I’m feeling that elegance.
Momento, the cute newish spot in St. Paul is down to offer deals next week! The $25 two-course lunch is stacked with poutine, a personal pizza, or a spicy fried chicken sandwich for your choosing. The $45 three-course dinner adds on options like beef empanadas, bacon mac ‘n cheese, plus Key lime cheesecake.
The Nicollet Diner is all in all day for RW! The 24-hour spot should be your stop for a $15 three-course meal at any time of the day. I mean, besides starting with wings or a quesadilla, you’ll have to choose between a hangover breakfast, chicken and waffles, buttermilk pancakes, the wonderful waffle, a Reuben, French dip, patty melt, and so many more things!
Nouvelle Brewing by Travail is in (like back when they were Pig Ate My Pizza). Not only can you still get some killer pizza on either the two-course $25 lunch or the three-course $35 dinner, but you can get the Dream burger from their currently hibernating Dream Creamery ice cream shop. A bright spot in the sky! They’re also offering a deal on their chef-crafted small batch brews: Buy two beer crowlers and get the third crowler half-off.
Noyes & Cutler, the newish steak spot off of Mears Park, is bringing modern meat house vibes. The two-course $25 lunch offers French onion soup or clam chowder, both winners, but then throws down a fried chicken sandwich with black garlic aioli or sliced prime rib sandwich with au jus for the dipping. On the three-course $45 dinner menu, you can get fancy with a NY strip steak, get cozy with chicken cassoulet, or get nostalgic and order beef Stroganoff with house-made egg noodles.
Let’s consider the fact that O’Shaughnessy Distilling’s RW menu knows why you’re there. For the $35 dinner, you get to select two items $18 or under on their regular menu (be that a lobster roll, brisket sandwich, pulled pork tacos, zucchini flatbread, etc.) and then one of the four Old Fashioneds on the menu: the Keeper’s OF is killer and perfect, but stretch your boundaries a bit and try the Hayfield with beeswax and salted honey or the Smoked Maple for something a bit new.
Pivo Riverplace, which just took over the old Wilde Cafe on the river, has brought a fresh new vibe to the space. They have a $20 two-course lunch which keeps it brunchy with caramel French toast, a MN hot maple benedict, or biscuits and gravy. The $30 three-course dinner offers a signature lump crab cake, Thai mussels, a seafood Étouffée, and a sassy sounding milk chocolate salted crème brulée.
Red Wagon Pizza has bellied up to the RW bar! The $10 two-course lunch is a salad and the Red Wagon Sandwich, which is LEGIT one of my favorite hoagies in the city right now. The $35 three-course dinner keeps it straight with salad, lasagne, and banana cream pie. Classic, simple, and available for take out.
Brace yourself, St. Genevieve is here. The SoMinny French charmer is offering a three-course $45 menu with duck rillette, tomato tart tatin with a sherry caramel, gnocchi in a mushroom burre blanc, moules frites which you always call to you, and of course a lemon meringue tart, among other choices. Bubbles, or it didn’t happen.
And wonderful news: Tilia is in as well. If you haven’t been back in a bit, head over there for a three-course $45 dinner that could include a pheasant croquette with chive pistou, pork tenderloin with rye spaetzle, a little winter squash risotto with burrata, and yes, a cheeseburger.
BEST OF THE REST
You don’t see a lot of three-course lunches for $25, like the one at 6Smith, and you don’t see a lot of Cubano Sandwiches: ham, roasted pork, bacon, tomato escabeche, Swiss cheese, cayenne-honey mustard and it comes with fries or slaw.
Baja Haus in Wayzata has been a long-time RW warrior, but word is there is some fresh fire in the kitchen. For that $45 dinner, and surf-side vibes, I’d go with some lemony and garlicky shrimp pil pil, followed by that Cazuela shellfish stew, and finish with banana and dulce de leche crepes.
Listen, solo diners should not feel left out of RW. Here’s a delightful me-party: Hit up the $20 lunch at Barbette, order the cheese plate and then the soft scrambled eggs. Upgrade with a glass of bubbles, you don’t even need to label it as self-care, you’re done justifying.
I love that Book Club is doing a two-course $15 brunch. And that you absolutely can get a breakfast salad (with goat cheese, lardon, soft boiled egg, arugula, etc.) and then a mascarpone and cherry trifle. Salad and dessert, cancelling each other out, marvelous.
Take out! Maybe you’re trying to catch up on The Last of Us, and need some couch fuel? Broders’ Cucina has three course deal for $22 that can be boxed and ready for you: start with a small Caesar, fight between the cheese manicotti and the rigatoni (good luck), and then I’m going strawberry rhubarb bar because I’m on optimist like that.
Bullvino’s in St. Paul reclaims my heart for best deal and most food in one sitting. Celebrate the end of resolutions with the $40 all-you-can-eat dinner of salad bar goodies, cheesy poufs, garlic mashed potatoes, and of course various meat skewers brought right to your table.
I’m fan of the mix-and-match idea at Bungalow Club‘s $45 three+ course dinner. I would start with the char crudo (or tortellini in brodo), the prawns with the bagna caudal mayo sounds like my jam, and then I’d probably add on the supplemental pasta course (+$11) of the lasagna bianca with squash and fontina because, love. I’m finishing with the chocolate tart with apple butter. But I’ll regret not ordering the risotto with smoked mushrooms and taleggio, I already know that.
Have to admit, the entree choices on The Copper Hen’s $40 dinner menu are all about surviving in comfort: Braised short rib and polenta, porchetta with horseradish mashed po, lobster or chicken mac ‘n cheese, chicken pot pie with a real butter baker’s crust, and a French onion burger oozing with butterkäse. Tuck me in.
Oh hello, Estelle. You had me at pork belly picatta. Others might heart emoji all over the fact that your burger is featured on the $45 three-course dinner menu.
I feel like I’m never going to stop calling out the tater tot hotdish on the $20 three-course lunch menu at Mason Jar in Eagan, mainly because it’s such a rare and wonderful find outside of your grandma’s kitchen. OK, they also have a pretty sweet porterhouse pork chop on the $30 three-course dinner menu, let that sink into your wallet.
I want everything on the Terzo $33 dinner menu. I just do. No way I’d go without three friends because I am biting off your plate of steelhead crudo, your risotto alla zucca, and we’re getting the $22 supplement of spezzatino di cinghiale (wild boar, polenta, pine nut, celery, pecorino Toscano) to share for the table.