When Sam read my first intro, “Well, hello there blogosphere,” she muttered those ever-present words that have come to define so much of our relationship, “Zeb, don’t embarrass me…” It is in that spirit, and hopefully minimal embarrassment to Sammie, that finds me writing about our incredible experience at Bar La Grassa.
So, you would think that living in a metro area with 2,352 restaurants (may or may not have updated Wikipedia to reflect that count), we wouldn’t be stressed out to find a place to eat. Yet, sometimes choice is a curse. We were thinking of a local, $$-$$$ish dollar-signed’ place, that we hadn’t tried. We finally settled on a spot we have heard so many good things about, yet neither had tried: Bar La Grassa (Hereafter BLG).
BLG is located in the North Loop area of Minneapolis. A really fun culmination of yesteryear warehouses turned chic apartments, businesses and restaurants. The building in which it’s located is the elegant Deere & Webber Company building. An establishment that it shares with Be’wiched sandwich shop, and other fine recession killing enterprises. We, due to some poor soul’s cancellation, were able to make same-day reservations at 7:30. We arrived a few minutes before and were able to find street parking for two bucks for two hours, score. That said, if you do want to valet, not only is it only five dollars, you might be lucky enough to be in the company the world’s best parker/past-roommate. The man, the legend, Eddie Kibira.
The interior of this place is great. They keep the old school feeling of the building with a clean and cozy aesthetic. We were immediately seated with a two-seater table next to the action in the open kitchen. When we sat down we were greeted by our server who was a great guy. Polite, knew his stuff on the menu, and wasn’t pushy, great combo. I know this is a post that is supposed to critique the restaurant experience, and food is generally a large portion of that, and the name of a food item in that experience might be important. But, that is to say, when we sat down we were treated to a treat of what I believe were Cannellini beans. I totally forgot what they were called, but they were delicious. Large, kidney shaped beans served cold with a light pickled sweet flavor. Earthy to almost a potato essence, but very delicious. The moment it was gone, it was replaced by a rosemary-encrusted bread, yum.
With that we ordered drinks. I had a Heineken and Sam had a glass of “Velvet Devil” Merlot. With the help of the waiter we also decided to get some bruschetta for an app. We went with the Charred Red Onion with Goat Cheese. Guys, honestly, dang. The Red Onion was ‘charred’ to perfection. It was this magical combination of sweet, savory, and almost tart. Add to that with the textures of silky smooth goat cheese and the crunch of the onion and bread. Let’s just say that a high five to the server would not be out of place. …thought about it.
With that we had the main course, but I think this is a good place to talk about something that goes a long way at a restaurant: Service. Sam brought this up and I thought it was right on. The service at BLG is efficient. There are plenty of servers on hand to fill water, take plates, replace silverware and generally be helpful. This frees up your main server to be less stressed and have a good time, which makes you the patron less stressed and have a good time. Props BLG. I hope you guys share those tips around to everyone though. I know how much it can suck to be helping and not get in on the cut.
For the main dishes I had the Penne Rigate with Shrimp and Vin Santo and Sam had the Gnocchi with Cauliflower and Orange. Once again, cue the slow clap. The Penne Rigate was perfection in pasta form. Take a smokey, caramelized onion flavor, a splash of sweet wine, and shrimp the size of small sea-creatures, with Penne cooked masterfully and you will have what comes close to describing what that pasta was. Not to get all post-eating-Ratatouille-French-critique on you, but it was Delicious. Sam’s gnocchi was itself a beautiful thing as well. It had this earthy, almost woodsy flavor to it that was cut through perfectly by the citrus elements. We both were supremely satisfied and only enhanced by the fact that we took some home and can re-live it again tomorrow.
For dessert we went with the Salted Butter and Caramel Crespelle. It is two crepes with caramel oozing out of them and a scoop of ice cream on top. The crepes had a light, almost delicate texture that soaked up the caramel. Again we encountered a complex flavor, which became a theme that traversed the evening of sweet and savory.
I legitimately spent a decent amount of time thinking of negatives for the evening. The closest one I could come up with is so trite it is almost not worth mentioning. I didn’t dig the toffee that came (free) with the check. …people if the biggest complaint you have about a place is that the free thing they give you when you pay for your meal isn’t to your liking, that is called a good evening.
Sam and I were very impressed with BLG and are definitely going to be coming back.
-Guest Minneapolite Zeb
Bar La Grassa
800 North Washington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Bar La Grassa on Facebook
Bar La Grassa on Yelp