Category Archives: Breakfast & Brunch

Grand Café – Minneapolis, MN – Brunch

We were in the neighborhood and knew that the Grand Café served brunch on the weekends so we decided to give it a try.

My last trip to the Grand Café was not bad but it was not great either. Of the 4 entrees we tried one was amazing and the others were average. My assessment was that the service was so slow that the food sat out too long. For a pan seared duck breast this is not good thing.

I am not one that enjoys rushing a meal, in fact I do really enjoy a break between courses to take a few breaths, sip some wine and enjoy the conversation. But service at this restaurant has been consistently slow both times I have been there. The wait staff was very nice and knowledgeable, just not all that efficient when it comes to empty wine glasses and getting the plates from the kitchen to the diners.

The food for brunch this time was stellar. The Huevoes Rancheros were magnificent. Their version is more French inspired and features Quesadillas filled with Berkshire Pork Confit, Oaxaca Cheese, Two Eggs Your Way (I had mine over easy), Mole, Black Beans, Cilantro, Sour Cream. Out of the kitchen the dish is actually fairly mild, the mole is nicely balanced and not too spicy. Mexican and southwestern food lovers might find this dish on the bland side. They bring you some condiments if you feel the need to add more heat.
Grand Café – Minneapolis, MN
I was really impressed with the preparation and attention to detail. The dish was nicely layered and all the ingredients were fresh (except the pork) and high quality. I would highly recommend this if you go there for brunch.

We also tried the steel cut oats. This is a dish that I would normally not order in a restaurant because after all it is oatmeal. This was not your run of the mill oatmeal. It came with a side of apples and Devonshire cream. Mixing these into the hot oatmeal was divine.

I am excited to go back there again soon for dinner and brunch for that matter. I really like their dedication to high quality local ingredients. I am hoping the service will become more efficient as time goes on.


Via Restaurant – Edina, Minnesota

We decided to try the latest addition to the Edina restaurant scene. Via has taken over the old Pizzeria Uno space located on France Avenue across from Southdale. Via is run by the same company that operates Mission and Atlas Bar and Grill.

I have dined at Mission several times but only for lunch. I find the food and the atmosphere good. Though I am still bitter about the fact that it is the old Aquavit space and well…it STILL hurts me that its gone. But not to fault the folks at Mission, it is a great location for a restaurant and they do a nice job.

Now on to Via. I had some preliminary expectations about the Restaurant. Mostly that it would be Mission with a different name. Boy was I wrong. We had our first dinner there on the second day it was open. Usually day 2 of any new restaurant reveals the tough spots in the service and food. Not so at Via. Granted the dining room was about 1/3 full. So it was not all that busy. The service was almost too good. They were almost too attentive. The space itself is gorgeous. It has a huge 3 room dining area along with a large bar with plenty of table seating and a patio bar with fire pit.
via interior
Our server was very knowledgeable about both the menu and the wine list. We tried several dishes on his recommendation. Our starters included the Coconut Rock Shrimp and the Crab Wontons. The shrimp were prepared well and the range of dipping sauces were nice. My favorite one was the Mango Ginger sauce. The hot chilli sauce was nothing all that unusual. The Lemon Herb sauce was fine but not all that interesting either when compared to the Mango sauce. My biggest complaint about this dish was that the presentation was boring. via rock shrimp

The crab wontons were also good. They were served with curry pineapple and basil. I think this is a great dish to share. Also a good one if you just want to have appetizers and drinks in the bar.
via crab wontons
For entrees we tried the Halibut with golden tomatoes, lemon marmalade, haricot vert and fingerling potatoes. This was delicious. I was curious about the marmalade and how that would be integrated into the dish. It added a nice lemon overtone that was not overpowering. The fish was perfectly prepared along with the potatoes and green beans. I would highly recommend this.
via halibut
We also ordered the grilled salmon with soba noodle salad, shitake mushroom lobster broth and thai basil. I did not sample this due to my salmon allergy but my wife was very pleased with it.
via salmon
For dessert we ordered the mint ice box cake. It was a chocolate covered and came with a raspberry sauce. I enjoyed this because it was chocolate but not to heavy. How can you really go wrong with chocolate, raspberry and mint.
via dessert
We made a second trip to Via for Sunday brunch. This time we had a bit different experience with the service. It was very slow which was challenging since my 3 year old was with us. Via is kid friendly but not in an Edina Grill kind of way and personally I think that is OK. They offer a menu for kids, and seem to have a reasonable selection. My son loved his blueberry pancakes. We tried the asparagus prosciutto omlette. I found the eggs to be very good, but the toast was over toasted and the potatoes were way over cooked. I think they had been sitting in a warmer somewhere for a really long time. Coffee was outstanding. Our server was not nearly as attentive as the dinner service. Must be that the B team is on Sunday Brunch.
via omlette

Overall, I think Via is going to be a very successful restaurant. It will be interesting to see how they evolve over the next 6-8 months.

Barbette – Minneapolis

We had a wonderful breakfast this past Saturday at Barbette. Simple and fresh the way breakfast is supposed to be. I am always looking for places that serve a nice breakfast not loaded with grease, bacon and hash-browns. Not that I have anything against hash-browns.

Barbette is located in Uptown on the Northwest Corner of Irving and Lake. It is a quirky fun place with a lot of character. It is all about fresh and organic when possible. I had the Omelette with Petite Field Greens Salad. Mine had Ham, mushrooms and caramelized onions in it. The eggs were cooked to perfection. It was filled with nice chunks of high quality ham. The caramelized onions added flavor without being too overpowering. A greens salad tossed with a simple olive oil dressing accompanied it. They serve a wicked cup of coffee.

Service is good but a bit relaxed and casual. Don’t go if you are in a hurry. Go if you have time to relax, enjoy your food and the atmosphere. I would like to try dinner there sometime soon. They had a great selection of reasonably priced wines along with some good options for entrees. The actual menu is difficult to find on their site. Here is a direct link to it. It appears to be current.

The Edina Grill- Edina, MN (New Restaurant)

I had the opportunity to get a sneak peek at the new Edina Grill officially opening on September 26th. Thank you David Burley for your invitation to the practice run!

The new space is completely different from the old restaurant. Edina Grill 2.0 is a hipper, more sophisticated version of the restaurant without being intimidating or a caricature of its former self. It is still casual enough that you can bring your kids, but cool enough that you could bring a first date.

The restaurant features a beautiful bar packed with a fantastic selection of premium beers on tap. Any restaurant that has Bell’s Two Hearted Ale on tap knows the score. The old restaurant had a counter. This is a full bar that could accommodate a happy hour crowd or a single diner not looking to sit at a table in the dining room. There were some familiar favorites on the limited test menu we experienced including their signature Turkey Burger. They retained the towels for napkins and self service silverware on the tables a detail I particularly enjoy. The wine list and menu prices also stayed the same or similar.

We began our meal by sharing some perogies. They were good though I am biased because my Eastern European grandmother makes the best perogies in the world. These were a close second. I had the Tuna Nicoise. A perfectly seared piece of fresh tuna served over green beans and artichokes. It was a great lunch option. We also sampled the meatloaf which was equally as good.

In my last review of the restaurant I complained about the entrance area. I was hoping they would resolve the waiting customer problem. The new waiting area is out of the way from the dining room and with the bar in place, I think they did a nice job solving this problem. Though judging how good the food and atmosphere is at the new restaurant, I am sure there will be no shortage of customers waiting for a table, hopefully they will be able to contol the crowds.

I think the Edina Grill offers some of the best value dining in the city. Everything is fresh, creative and energetic at a price anyone can afford. You can feel the passion for great food when you walk in the door.

The folks at Salut should take note. The majority of the diners that will be eating at your restaurant will be there because the wait for a table will be too long at the Edina Grill.

Edina Grill – Edina, MN

Whenever we want to go somewhere good and casual that will easily accommodate our toddler, we go to the Edina Grill. What I like about the Edina Grill is the fact that everything they serve is fresh and made from scratch. The have a nice inexpensive wine list and great beers on tap.

David Burley and Stephanie Shimp own and operate the restaurant. They also run The Highland Grill, The Groveland Tap and The Longfellow Grill. I have not eaten at their other restaurants, but judging from the menus there seems to be a lot of similarity between them.

My favorite thing about the Edina Grill is that you can get breakfast there anytime. In my opinion breakfast/brunch offers some of their best options. I would recommend the ham and cheese scramble or the spinach tomato scramble. The spinach tomato scramble is made with fresh tomatoes, spinach and brie. The breakfast burrito is enormous, but is a great option to share unless you are not planning on eating anything else for the rest of the day.
If eggs and cheese are not your thing, try the jack cakes. A short stack of pancakes made from buckwheat and covered with blueberries, granola, peanuts and honey.

Lunch and dinner options at the Edina Grill are excellent as well. I have had a few different tuna preparations. Their specials are usually very appealing and unique. It is rare for me to order dinner of the menu. When I do, I usually gravitate toward the turkey burger. This is a signature item at the Edina Grill. It is always moist and flavorful. You hardly even notice it is made out of turkey. Highly recommend this if you like burgers but are not into beef.

Service at the Edina grill tends to be no frills and speedy. There is always an ample number of high chairs available for people with kids. The only thing that sucks is the wait for a table at busy times. The entrance is small and can get really crowded with people waiting to sit down. We have waited up to 30 minutes. I am hoping they will have a better system for this when the new restaurant opens down the street. I believe it will be located next to Salut between 50th and 51st on France Avenue.