Winter Restaurant Week 2022: The Choices!

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This is Winter Restaurant Week!!! That means you have a chance of slamming it into 4WD and punching a hole in your food rut. Go out and enjoy some of the best hot meals that arrive at your table, without the need to do the dishes or recycle containers, while allowing you to put a few spare dollars in that holiday fund. If I had unlimited gut space, here’s what I’d eat all week:

BEGINNERS

all saints is the hot spot for people in the industry, but you’re welcome for a $35 dinner that should (IMHO) include these charred cucumbers with whipped ricotta, mushroom bolognese with pappardelle pasta, then this chocolate cake. You won’t miss the meat, swear.

New Brewery is, by name, new (although you might have RWed here when it was Pig Ate My Pizza). The $30 dinner has a lot to offer, starting with the Handsome Bobb salad which is both beautiful and good, or the cauliflower gratin, for when you want to eat well but also eat badly. I’d take this pork belly curry because it’s crispy and bright, but if you’re feeling nostalgic, there’s a cheese pizza on the brioche crust for you.

Can a cocktail be one of the three courses? I allow it. O’Shaughnessy Distillation did RW this round with a $35 dinner. Form a group and graze your choice of small plates, grab some chocolate chip cookies from Grandma Colleen, then dip them in your Keeper’s Heart Old Fashioned. All whiskey nerds do.

If you can’t get to the islands, you can at least get to Paul Hana in Sauvage. A southern metro spot with South Pacific leanings, they offer a $40 dinner during which you can choose a starter of spicy tuna poké known as an ahi bomb or Thai lobster bisque with lemongrass, ginger and red curry. So maybe you do kalbi steak, maybe opakapaka fish with ginger scallions or char siu pork loin with island rice. Finish with the pineapple upside-down cake that carries a rum spritz like so many holiday breezes.

Have you been to the new Bloomington site of Smack Shack? Now is your chance! The new spot and the original NoLo spot have the same offers, but can we please raise a fin for free parking in the suburbs? Drop by for an easy $25 lunch that should start with a lobster macaroni and end with an andouille po’boy. And then do a squat at the bar with your laptop and roll into the $35 dinner where you’ll opt for lobster guac, jambalaya and key lime pie. No meter screams at you.

THE BEST OF THE REST

If you’re tired of all your friends and their beach pics, head over to Baja House this week for your own staycation. Start your $35 dinner with a bright and fresh tuna poké, these dipping scallops with roasted corn and pork belly are so satisfying, and a little coconut flan at the end will make up for the many mezcal drinks that you will order.

I feel the appeal of Summit Beer Cheese Soup from by Baldamar Lunch at $25. After that, I make the 1/2 lobster roll with fries as the best soup-n-sandwich combo ever. And then: chocolate mousse for dismantling.

Birch is on the lake has a good option for lunch, especially if you want a drink during the day. It’s just an extra $5 for a mini beer flight, which goes well with the beer-battered golden hoagie on the $20 lunch menu. Start with French Onion Soup and choose your beers to sip dark and light ales.

While many RW kids only dine for these deals, Broders kitchen keeps it only to take away. All day (lunch or dinner!), you can pick up a three-course meal for $20! Fettuccine Alfredo, bolognese, chicken risotto, Caesar salad, cappuccino brownies and more! And if you want to sit and eat at a real table, Broders Pasta Bar cooks up a crazy three-course dinner for $25, adding spaghetti carbonara, pesto linguine and the sultry pasta puttanesca to the list of choices. (Psst, get the optional addition of wine pairings.)

I’m not 100% sure about Masterwork Burger’s situation in The Brooklyn is (cheese, lettuce, sun-dried tomatoes, maitre’s pickles, maitre’s sauce on a potato bun), but it’s on the $15 lunch menu, which means I could afford to find out . I would probably start with the chicken and wild rice soup because you never have to question that.

I think all I have to say is: Churrascaria from Bullvino in Lowertown, it’s ALL YOU CAN EAT for a $35 dinner. Meats, cheese poufs, garlic mashed potatoes, vegetables, fruits, all of it.

It’s as if the children of Bungalow Club pop over to St. Paddy’s with this cut of corned wagyu on the $40 dinner menu. It comes with charred coleslaw, rutabaga, and honey mustard. Although I totally start this dinner with rice porridge topped with piri piri chili oil and a soft-boiled egg, which is my thing. But I like being able to add a table slice of arancini with fontina if I want, just so this borderless feast fits my own cheese quota.

I love the vegan/meatan vibe of the evening Duke on 7 Evening menu at $35. It looks like a good match if you fly back and forth: you get the French Onion Soup with Beef, they get the Coconut Soup with Curry. You get the pork chop with polenta, they get the vegan porterhouse steak with braised greens. You get the Oreo brownie cake, they get the vegan pineapple burnt panna cotta, and everyone feels seen.

It’s hard to miss the value of Jimmy’s kitchen protein-rich menu. Your choices for the $35 three-course dinner menu include: any fresh fish or seafood dish, 12 oz rib eye, 11 oz NY strip, small tenderloin, a 14 oz bone-in pork chop, an 11 oz prime rib (weekends only) or a full rack of ribs. With those you get a soup or a salad and a dessert, it’s like the lotto here.

I think there is only one restaurant on this list that offers tater tot hot food, which for some is a particularly important tool for surviving the winter. Kitchen Mason Jar knows it and has it on their $20 lunch menu, plus roast in case you have a fancy grandma putting on lipstick to cook (goals). Plus, it’s a three-course lunch, so get a real cupcake at the end.

Knowing the portion size to Twin Cities Tavern 400, you know what a bargain that $20 lunch is. I start with cheese curds or this tomato basil soup, then dig into a French dip or this fried chicken sandwich with hot honey and coleslaw. And it’s a three-course lunch, so: Sebastian Joe’s ice cream, which means you’ll have to turn off your camera when you reconnect to nap/Zoom.

Both Yumi Saint-Paul and Yumi Southdale have a big gig going on. The $35 dinner deal gives you a great list of options for appetizer, I like a bit of shumai shrimp dumplings or harumaki spring rolls to start. And then you can choose two starters: choose 10 piece tonka roll and Asian wings, choose beef teriyaki and 8 piece California roll, choose chicken udon noodles and 4 piece nigiri, choose your fighters! And then you also get mochi.

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