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Spoon & Stable, Matt’s, Meritage and Young Joni are Essential Restaurants

The Twin Cities land four spots on the national stage

Venison at Spoon and Stable
Spoon and Stable / Website

Today Eater launched the 38 Essential Midwestern Restaurants from roving critic Bill Addison and Matt’s Bar, Spoon and Stable, Young Joni and Meritage made the list.

Addison has traversed the country is search of great meal and in his words sampled all the goodness including, “pizzas in all manner of geometry and thickness.” In Minnesota he relished the triangular cuts at Ann Kim’s Young Joni, devoured new-American cuisine at Gavin Kaysen’s Spoon and Stable, appreciated the fine French fare of Russell Klein’s Meritage and even made time for a classic Matt’s burger.

Spoon and Stable is the first restaurant that star chef Gavin Kaysen opening in Minnesota. The former horse stable was converted into an elegant dining destination with reservations that continue to fill up far in advance three years after opening. Before this Kaysen was known as the award winning chef who worked under Daniel Boulud in New York City before making the audacious journey to his home state.

The dining room at Spoon and Stable
Shea Design / Website

Addison visited again recently and found the food to be continually spectacular. He said, “The modern American cooking shows polish without too much rigid control.”

The inside of the restaurant with low tables, a high bar, wood burning pizza oven, and a bookcase filled with plants and knick knacks in the background
Feasting on food and the design feats of Young Joni
The Restaurant Project / Young Joni

Ann Kim’s third pizza restaurant, Young Joni was recently named by Addison as one of the best new restaurants in America. “Owner Ann Kim evades cliches by winningly personalizing every element of her restaurant,” said Addison. The room is a design feat, the pizzas divine, and the globally-inspired small plates soar. This restaurant continues to be one of the most buzzed about restaurants in the Twin Cities.

Jucy Lucy
Matt’s Bar

For as high brow as dining in our part of the country can be, there’s only so high we’re willing to go before it gets pretentious - something that goes entirely against a Minnesotans grain. Thankfully, the critic also appreciates a proper, if oddly spelled burger stuffed with cheese. Matt’s Bar claims to be the originator of the jucy lucy and this is another vote in favor the classic. A reasonably-sized meat patty is wrapped around molten cheese and served on a small, squishy bun in this dive bar. “Let the burger rest for a couple of minutes to avoid a scalding liquid-cheese facial.”

The bar at Meritage
Meritage / Website

The lone Saint Paul restaurant to make the list is Russell and Desta Klein’s French brasserie Meritage. From the black and white tile to the zinc bar to the ornate Absinthe dispenser behind the bar, this restaurant is classically, comfortably French. Addison notes a recent trend of French restaurants opening and tips a hat to Meritage’s owners for beating that fashion by a decade. Inside here the champagne flows, the oysters are freshly shucked, the technique is flawless and foie gras is “sublime.”

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