THE EATBEAT: News Room offers inviting menu in heart of MinneapolisAlmost everyone agrees that this city and St. Paul, its twin across the Mississippi, provide some of the best adventures in dining in America. There are fine restaurants sprinkled throughout the metropolis. Over a weekend, there’s time to explore the vast offerings.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
MINNEAPOLIS — Almost everyone agrees that this city and St. Paul, its twin across the Mississippi, provide some of the best adventures in dining in America. There are fine restaurants sprinkled throughout the metropolis. Over a weekend, there’s time to explore the vast offerings.
I sat alone in a hotel room flipping through information about restaurants of the Twin Cities. I was attracted by descriptions of Ichiban, Hard Rock Cafe and one called Hell’s Kitchen, promising a “damn good breakfast.”
I was with my daughter, Gail Hagerty (GH), and as we walked around Nicollet Mall hunting for something light to eat one evening, we were attracted to The News Room. Outside, it didn’t look like much, except that it’s large. Inside, it’s decorated with big enlargements of old newspapers and old type fonts.
We were in our element and very comfortable. The clientele was eclectic — some old, some young, some swishy, some everyday types. We noticed a long list of appetizers, dinner salads, salads, pasta and entrees. And steak and chops. We were attracted to the flatbread listing, ordering one made with four cheeses — feta, bleu, Parmesan and mozzarella — with roasted garlic hummus ($9.95). This was just right.
The place is like a large cavern, but service is swift and efficient. Libations are unlimited. And it was far more than liquor with a full menu including a chicken roulade that features a chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese, spinach and sun-dried tomato wrapped in brick pastry and served with garlic mashed potatoes ($15.95).
As we paid, I thought for that amount we wouldn’t get in the front door of Murray’s. That, of course, is the old, established home of the silver butter-knife steak, a landmark at 26 S. Sixth St.
Napa Valley Grille
With a friend from Delaware, GH and I ended up looking for something on the light side in Mall of America on a Saturday evening. This is a daunting task because the restaurants we saw on the main floor were overflowing. Waiting time at one was an hour and 40 minutes. We were not discouraged and moved up to the second level.
There, we found the Napa Valley Grille — a sedate, upscale restaurant that sets you aside from the droves of people. The menu is a la carte and lends itself to choices and a chance to eat as much as you want rather than put yourself on overflow. There were starters, salads, main courses and grilled items with sides of veggies.
Prices range from $12 for a 6-ounce grilled salmon in lemon butter sauce to $22 for New Zealand lamp chops with apricot glaze. We tried the poached pear soup with bleu cheese cream and crispy prosciutto, it was a wonderful adventure. There was a grilled-and-chilled shrimp cocktail with citrus cocktail sauce and sliced lemon. We also tried a roasted beet salad with sherry vinaigrette dressing and made with arugula, spiced walnuts, bleu cheese and red onion.
I would go back for it. Better still, I could learn how to make it at home.
A pear upside-down cake with warm rum caramel was the finishing touch.
Ike’s in the airport
Time was right for lunch in the airport before GH’s plane left for Bismarck and mine for Grand Forks. We went to Ike’s near the Lindbergh Terminal concourse. We had been there before and found it a quiet haven where food is more traditional, maybe a tad old-fashioned. Seating is comfy. There are large slots where you can set your bags.
I ordered the signature item, Ike’s club sandwich ($14.99), and GH asked for a sage-roasted turkey sandwich ($13.99). Both were served on a multigrain bread with lettuce and tomato. The club comes with horseradish and spicy giardineria (Italian pickled vegetable relish) while the turkey has a touch of onion and mayonnaise.
The sandwiches are robust and come with a huge serving of fries, which did not seem as though it would be recommended by Weight Watchers. But everything tasted good.
Ike’s also claims house-smoked baby back ribs as a signature item.
Reach Hagerty at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (701) 772-1055.