First up, Heavy Table's James Norton is impressed by Origami Uptown's new menu, which explores non-sushi Japanese food and also pairings with Italian wines. While he predicts that some of the dishes—like the maguro yamakake (marinated cubed yellow fin tuna with grated mountain yam)—will be divisive, he comes down on the "pro" side for everything except some "unfortunately leathery kalbi beef shortribs." He concludes: "We thought we knew Origami. Origami Uptown, however, seems to be in the midst of transforming into a profoundly delicious new thing. We'll be back."
Also at Heavy Table, Tricia Cornell heads to Uptown's new Hammer & Sickle, where she keeps tabs on a table of middle-aged Russian diners. While Cornell admits that she "came in the door quite skeptical," she is won over by the dumpling selection, of both Polish pierogi and Russian pelmeny. The cocktails, though, were "fine, just fine, bordering on forgettable."
The Pioneer Press's Jess Fleming contributes another review of new North Loop brewpub The Freehouse. Hers is less harsh than Norton's last week, but she still finds the entrees "a little uneven," and everything is oversalted: "We're not sure if this is a ploy to get diners to drink more beer or a problem with heavy-handed cooks, but many of the dishes we tried suffered from salt excess."
Finally, Fleming also gives a mixed review of the revamped 128 Café. While the overall gloss is positive, many dishes seem slightly disappointing, from the "tired" and "overcooked" pork belly to the "somewhat disappointing" dessert selection. But the brioche-stuffed chicken, the pappardelle bolognese, the shepherd's pie, and both versions of the steak (rib-eye and hangar) were all winners.
· All Week in Reviews [Eater MPLS]