Bar La Grassa, Minneapolis, MN

5forks

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800 Washington Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 333-3837

www.barlagrassa.com/

Neighborhood: North Loop
Cuisine: Italian
Cost: $$$
Five Forks = Sets the standard for fine dining in the region and consistently provides superior quality dining

Hours:

Monday through Thursday
5PM to 12AM

Friday and Saturday
5PM  to 1AM

Sunday
5PM  to 10PM

Bar Hours:

Monday through Saturday
5PM  to 2AM

Sunday
5PM  to 10PM

SPECIAL FEATURES:  Rediculous amounts of well deserved awards including WINNER – BEST CHEF – MIDWEST – ISAAC BECKER!  JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION – BEST CHEFS IN AMERICA! and way too many more to list!

Handicap accessible: Yes
Parking: Valet, Street
Vegetarian options: Yes
Kid friendly: No
Liquor served: Full Bar
Wine List: Good variety of wines
Outdoor seating: No
Reservations: Yes
Splitting fee: no

Complimentary: Italian mixture of olive oil, cheese, white beans, and peppers, as well as fresh bread with butter.

beans3 bread2

The little bowl of pickled beans excite your taste buds.  They offer two types of bread served with whipped butter.  A traditional style loaf and then another softer variety that is topped with fresh herbs on a butter flaked layer that reminds me of mini-doughnuts somehow; and I have to limit myself or I wouldn’t leave room for my meal!

I’ve lost track of how many times we’ve eaten here.  It is our recommendation spot to anyone who wants a good meal that is a true value.  Each and every time we visit, we try various items and the food is always off the chart delicious!  We’ve brought business associates, as well as have come casual.  I strongly recommend a reservation ahead of time because sometimes it can be challenging to get in.  If Bill and I are alone, we typically go for the opening at five pm and choose to sit belly up to the bar facing the open kitchen where we’ve always gotten seated right away.  We enjoy watching the food being prepared and the expediter while querying about the different dishes leaving the kitchen.

open kitchen IMG_9851

Convenient and in the warehouse district, we appreciate the fair valet parking right outside the door for only $5!  We most recently brought our 19 year old son Andrew and his lovely girlfriend Danielle to celebrate his birthday because we thought it would be a great experience for them as they both enjoy all types of cuisine.  The prices are extremely reasonable and you can order half portions for under ten bucks, which is almost unheard of.

BLG sign valet inside

The ambiance is comfortable, while the decor is a nice mix of metal and wood.  It is dark and romantic, with tall ceilings.  It feels a bit trendy, but is also on the classy side with level of warmth that makes it inviting.  The noise level is decent and low enough that you don’t have to shout to be heard.  The service is always excellent and the wait staff patient, while explaining the number of dishes that have authentic Italian names.

Though you can order individually, I highly recommend ordering several dishes and sharing family style.  This way you can enjoy tasting a wide variety of dishes with out breaking the bank.

Some of the various meals we’ve enjoyed include these starters: 

We almost always start with a Bruschetta to share.  Each order comes with two generous crustini’s topped with seasonal delights.  A couple of favorites:

CHARRED RED ONION with GOAT CHEESE, $8

charred red onion with goat cheese bruschetta

We absolutely love the creamy sweet caramelized onions against the tart soft goat cheese on top of a perfectly chard crustini!

If you have a group of four, or if you are really hungry, I recommend the SOFT EGGS and LOBSTER, $18

egg3

This is more eggs Benedict to me than a Bruschetta.  It’s a very generous portion of crusty bread underneath a soft mound of moist eggs that softens as it sits.  The eggs are embedded with large delicate bites of fresh, rich lobster.  A skosh of fresh chives makes this dish mouthwatering.

On the lighter side, we’ve had the BLUE MARLIN CRUDO, $10

blue

This is soft and delicate, while it melts in your mouth and is just a nibble so you may not want to share!

We often choose the secondi ST. LOUIS PORK RIBS, $16 as an appetizer to share.

ribs2

These finger-licking little morsels are addicting.  There is just enough to go around, but we refrain from taking more because they are that good!  They are a bit sweet, with just enough heat and the added touch of fresh herbs, along with a hint of fresh lemon makes them perfect.

Yes, there are salads greens available, as well as sides but they just aren’t as exciting to show off.

Entrees:

I don’t think I could ever leave here without eating the GNOCCHI with CAULIFLOWER and ORANGE, $9 / $18

gnocchi 2

The pillowy dumplings are served piping hot and shine with the caramelization from the skillet.  It includes slivers of tender, fragrant cauliflower nestled among them.  Subtle hints of orange zest tops them adding a burst of freshness.  My personal favorite!

The CAVATELLI with BRAISED RABBIT, $9 / $18 is a frequent option.

cavatelli with braised rabbit

Little small pasta shells that look like miniature hot dog buns are innfused with a strong flavored red sauce and tender, shredded dark rabbit meat, which is very rich.  My only complaint on this dish is that it is often a bit too al dente for my liking.

Bill’s favorite has to be the SPAGHETTI CARBONARA, $8 / $16

egg4

Though we don’t order it often, this dish is over the top rich with fat from lardons, egg yolk and olive oil.  The pasta made in house is always properly al dente and the bursts of flavor from the pancetta is to die for!

Another fresh past a option is the SILK HANKERCHIEFS with BASIL PESTO, $8 / $16

basil4

This is a simple item on the menu that is done incredibly well.  I always figure I could make this one myself at home, but the pasta is dense and never disappointing.  Everyone seems to enjoy this dish.

There have been numerous other dishes that I have sampled and they have all been spectacular!

Though I haven’t tried this one myself, I’ve heard that the RED WINE SPAGHETTI with PINE NUTS, $5 / $10 is great

bucatini with bolognese sauce

I’ve seen it described as “tart and really flavorful”, “superb and original” with “The red wine is pronounced but not overwhelming in this very sophisticated, yet seemingly understated, dish.”

Another dish on my list to enjoy is the CALAMARATA with RAW TUNA, $20 / $40

Calamarata with tuna

From other reviewers: “A wonderful pairing of flavors”, “The noodles had just the right amount of kick, and I was told the tuna was perfect”, ” slightly spicy and the cubes of tuna were fresh and light”

I’ve seen others eat additional items and trust me, there is a lot more to mention.  No one I’ve ever talked to has been dissatisfied with their experience here.

Dessert:  The majority of the time we are way too full to order dessert.

We have sampled the Sea Salt Caramel Crepe with Izzy’s ice cream and it was sinfully delightful!

salted butter and caramel crespelle

An added bonus is that everyone get’s a small sample of the Spicy Almond Brittle that is unique and surprisingly good.

toffee

It’s a given that we’ll be back!!

Bon appetit!

~Chris

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