Review: Fresh Meat – Despite a familiar format, Baldamar is sizzling with new life

Baldamar is a steakhouse at a mall. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of this review. Despite its aggressive Instagram influencer-courting and its 9th Level Gnome Illusionist-sounding name, Baldamar is both fully contemporary and as square as can be, down to its Restoration Hardware-meets-Delta Sky Club interior. And yet: There’s a … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: The Biscuit at Betty and Earl’s

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. There’s a lot to unpack with the new Potluck MN Food Hall at Rosedale Center. It has replaced the scuttled Revolution Hall, a food court that failed in part because of its reliance on gimmicky food and a … [ Read more]

Wild flavors and a steady culinary hand make Bebe Zito’s ice cream offerings precious

Ultra-premium. Ultra-exotic. Ultra-delicious. Those three little phrases sum up Bebe Zito Ice Cream. Ice cream chef Ben Spangler and fiancée / business partner Gabriella Grant have staked their fortunes on making frozen desserts that go above, and beyond, and then several more steps beyond that. In an ice cream landscape that includes everything from the … [ Read more]

Order Up! Blackbird Cafe’s 13-year odyssey comes to an end

Updated January 16, 2020 Order Up! is the Growler’s ongoing biweekly account of noteworthy Minnesota restaurant openings, closings, and future openings. Please send any tips to [email protected] All dates are approximate based on best information available; opening dates, in particular, tend to shift around a lot.  THIS WEEK’S GIST: What causes a restaurant to close? … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: The Breakfast Sandwich at Hope Breakfast Bar

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. Since its opening in late 2019, Hope Breakfast Bar has become something of a sensation in its part of St. Paul, just off West 7th and near the Allina Health United Hospital medical complex. It’s a legitimately ambitious … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Chicken Sesame Crepe at Ichigo Tokyo Crepes

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. Lesser-known Japanese food is having a real moment in Minnesota right now. Restaurateurs are moving past the sushi / tempura / hibachi grill dynamic that has largely defined Upper Midwestern Japanese-American fare and are discovering new dimensions of … [ Read more]

Order Up! As we enter the New Year, we say goodbye to some long-time favorite restaurants

Updated January 2, 2020 Order Up! is the Growler’s ongoing biweekly account of noteworthy Minnesota restaurant openings, closings, and future openings. Please send any tips to [email protected] All dates are approximate based on best information available; opening dates, in particular, tend to shift around a lot.  THIS WEEK’S GIST: New Year’s may mark new beginnings … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Beef and Meatball Pho at Viet-Tien Market

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. There’s often something magical about those tiny deli-style eateries inside of first-generation marketplaces—whatever they lack in polish, they tend to make up with a combination of big flavors and reasonable prices. Think Dong Yang in Northeast Minneapolis, which … [ Read more]

A Star is Born: Estelle dazzles with Iberian- and Italian-inspired fare

Whatever else you eat at Estelle, you’ll come back for the pastéis de nata. When these humble-looking, eggy little custard tarts hit the table at the new Spanish-Portuguese-Italian spot in the former Bottle Rocket space in St. Paul, they might not look like much, but they will put a hook in you. These perfectly flaky … [ Read more]

New Wave, Old School: With Due Focacceria, Eric Carrara leverages tradition to define the future

The crunch of a cannoli at St. Paul’s Due Focacceria really resonates. It’s not just a question of the shell, which is wrapped around a form, fried to a crispy, bubbled tube, and then filled to order. And it’s not just a question of the perfectly textured miniature chocolate chips that stud the lemon-zested cannoli … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Black Pudding Scotch Egg at Merlins Rest Pub

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. The Scotch Egg—which probably originated in England, not Scotland—traditionally consists of a hard- or soft-boiled egg wrapped in seasoned ground pork sausage, coated in bread crumbs, baked or deep-fried and then served cold. Still popular on starter menus … [ Read more]

Matty O’Reilly’s restaurant group unveils $99/month subscription dining plan

Why pay a bunch of checks at your favorite restaurants when you could just pay a single subscription fee, instead? Restaurateur Matty O’Reilly debuted this week a novel subscription model of dining which would let subscribers eat as much as one entree per day at any of his restaurants for a monthly cost of $99, … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Chicken Fried Rice at Cheng’s Garden

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. If all you’re looking for is good, old-fashioned, slightly greasy, workaday delicious fried rice, get ready to be disappointed. A lot. We’ve ordered it (with chicken) dozens of times over the past decade or so, and the dish … [ Read more]

Order Up! Birchwood Cafe and the Minnesota Farmers Union look to build on their State Fair success in the Spoonriver space

Updated December 5, 2019 Order Up! is the Growler’s ongoing biweekly account of noteworthy Minnesota restaurant openings, closings, and future openings. Please send any tips to [email protected] All dates are approximate based on best information available; opening dates, in particular, tend to shift around a lot.  THIS WEEK’S GIST: The loss of locally-focused Spoonriver felt … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: The Egg Sandwich at Sando at Lawless Distilling Company

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. We are big believers in sandwiches—they’re affordable, portable, and when prepared correctly, capable of delivering all the thrills of an upscale entree with none of the pretense. So when we heard that Louie Lafleur (of Bittercube) and Jeff … [ Read more]