Restaurant Reviews: 2001 Archives
The Oceanaire Seafood Room is the best seafood restaurant in the Twin Cities. Its owners spare little expense: flying fresh fish in daily from around the world, building a 33-degree fish cleaning and holding room on premises, hiring chefs who know how to do fish right.
The restaurant is in the downtown Hyatt Hotel, on the second floor. It is a nice room, in that 90s marketing version of Art Deco sort of way.
Thirty thousand Somalis have come to live in the Minneapolis area in the past few years, so our hopes rose for some interesting restaurants serving Somali food. One such is Taleeh Restaurant. It's the exact experience we craved: new immigrants cooking food like back home in a nothing of a restaurant, for really cheap.
It's also the only restaurant we've ever eaten in that has separate dining rooms for men and women.
Sri Lanka is a reincarnation of the old Sri Lanka Curry House. Many of us have strong memories of that old beat-up restaurant, which closed when Uptown's rents took to the skies. This updated version is smaller and more refined: earth tones on the walls, indirect lighting, chunky square and triangular plates. And there's no more of that old "nosebleed hot" food; this version is not as hot.
The Nankin Chinese restaurant was a downtown Minneapolis landmark. The food wasn't any good. Think boring American Chinese-like food: chow mein, fried rice, lo mein, egg foo yong...that sort of thing. Even the entrées pandered: sweet and sour chicken, beef with broccoli, BBQ duck, and that old vegetarian stand-by, Buddha's Delight.
In Cuisine hasn't really settled into its space on Grand Avenue, formerly occupied by Leeann Chin. You can feel its discomfort as soon as you walk in. Maybe it's the bright lights behind the counter, or the out-of-place drinks cooler. But you'll quickly forgive those little itches shortly after you walk in. It's actually a pretty room.
We've been pining for a good Ethiopian restaurant since Odaa disappeared from the West Bank. The food there was consistently interesting and tasty, and we haven't found another east African restaurant we like as well.
When we read about House of Lalibela, our hopes began to rise. We visited just days after opening. The staff was still training and the temporary menus had only a few choices.
There's something to be said about a tabletop covered with delicious food. It's even better when it costs less than $15 a person, including tax and tip. And if ordering random dishes off the enormous menu is a delight, then we're willing to overlook the cramped tables and erratic service. And judging from the packed dining room and the long waits, lots of other people agree.
Zinc is a French brasserie, and specializes in French, mostly southern French, country cooking. Think mussels, salade niçoise, bouillabaisse, cassoulet, that sort of thing. We think the restaurant is beautiful and like being there. But the kitchen tries much too hard, and the results often fall short.
Written about Korea, in 1987
His name was Kim, and his English was pretty good. His concept of breakfast was a bowl of noodle soup in a restaurant that was about twenty-five feet long and only three feet wide.
He got two bowls of soup and sat one in front of me. He said something about "a Korean standard" and went back to the counter.
Photo of Bruce Schneier by Per Ervland.
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