As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. For our first question, friends of Eater weigh in on their top restaurant standbys. (Here are last year's picks if you'd like to relive 2012 memories as well.) Readers, please add your thoughts to the comments.
[Photo: Parlour, a standby for multiple friends of Eater, Katie Cannon/EAMPLS]
Q: What were your top restaurant standbys of 2013?
Andrew Zimmern, columnist Mpls.St.Paul Magazine; host, Bizarre Foods; owner, AZ Canteen: I have a family to feed, we probably eat at Punch once a week. Date night usually includes a stop at La Belle Vie or Piccolo.
Jason DeRusha, anchor, WCCO; contributing editor, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine:
For my wife and me, St. Paul's Strip Club Meat & Fish has been our stand-by for a while. The hug at the door from Tim Niver, the hug from the cocktails created by Dan Oskey, and the culinary hug from J.D. Fratzke gets me every time. I like hugs. For late-night, it's always La Belle Vie's lounge: Diane Yang's desserts, Mike DeCamp's affordable luxuries in the menu, and an elegant cocktail or glass of wine. Love it. For the family, it's probably Pizza Nea. I just love the crust, and Mike Sherwood always let's the kids grab a ball of dough and play with it while we drink a lovely glass from their quality wine list.
Stephanie Meyer, columnist, Minnesota Monthly TC Taste; blogger, Fresh Tart; author, Twin Cities Chef's Table: Corner Table was my standby, which was likely true last year and the year before that too. I live near, proprietors Nick and Chenny Rancone and chef Thomas Boemer are friends, the local/seasonal food beautifully executed and cozy at the same time, I can safely exercise my gluten-free gluttony, and the wine experience is the best in town. Also: When I show up with my lady friends and belly up to the counter, I don't have to worry that we're laughing too loudly, which is a serious consideration when we go out (ahem). Also: Crispy-yet-melt-in-your-mouth pork belly, the way it's supposed to be, particularly glorious when plucked out of a dish of cassoulet, like a hidden engagement ring of pork. I say: Yes!
Joy Summers, columnist, City Pages; writer, Minnesota Monthly; blogger, Eating the Minneapple: Restaurant would have to be The Buttered Tin. Because I have the pleasure of eating out for work in the evening so often, my meal times just for fun are often at off hours. For cocktails, or late night food, I always find my way back to Parlour. Between that ungodly good burger and the wildly talented staff, I can hardly stand to stay away.
Stephanie March, senior editor, Food & Dining, Mpls. St. Paul Magazine: Honestly, I ended up in Parlour bar more than I thought…
Drew Wood, editor, mspmag.com; formerly Twin Cities editor at Thrillist: World Street Kitchen, hands-down. Lunch or dinner, business or family; it pleases all, anytime, any mood. Seriously, have you ever seen anyone leave that place not at least partially bonkers about it? Oh, and Yum Yum Rice Bowl, double meat, double sauce…Gaaaaadzooks, man.
Emily Weiss, columnist, City Pages' Hot Dish; contributor, Growler Magazine: Fancy-ish: The Gray House—I'm continually delighted by this place. I like bringing out-of-towners here because I think it gives and interesting perspective what the food scene in Minneapolis is like right now. Casual/Truck: Moral Omnivore—They always seem to know exactly what I want before I want it, but I do usually want a delicious sandwich and they have those.
James Norton, editor, The Heavy Table: Time and time again, my wife and I found ourselves at Meritage. It's just so damned civilized, and you feel as though you're in really good hands from appetizer to dessert. The cocktails are spot on, the seafood is on par with the best available locally (and better than most I had when I lived out East), and it's the only place I'll order cassoulet. Shockingly good brunch, too. Even the scrambled eggs are memorably delicious.
Rick Nelson, restaurant critic, Star Tribune: Sun Street Breads. I probably turn to Solveig Tofte's crazy-good roast turkey sandwich on cracked wheat (a steal at $4.75) for lunch at least twice a month. That's a lot of repetition for me, and I'm getting to the point where I'm embarrassed to order it, because the nice people behind the counter take one look at me and start writing "Linnea's Choice" [the name of the sandwich] when they see me. But it's so delicious that I'm going to work through my feelings.
Lindsay Abraham, writer, Eater Minneapolis: Quang for hieu tiu/pho, Sea Salt for oysters, clam fries, and beer, Meritage for more oysters, anywhere serving up a cocktail brunch.
Claire Stanford, editor, Eater Minneapolis: Broders' Pasta Bar ended up being my go-to this year for a reliable meal out—not only is the food always great, but also the service is smooth, it's affordable, and it feels like a welcoming, easy place to be. This isn't a restaurant, but Clancey's sandwiches are also a standby of mine for lunch; I'd get one every week if Linden Hills weren't a bit out of the way for me. As it is, I probably go once every two weeks.
· All Year in Eater 2013 [Eater MPLS]