Jax Café has been surf-and-turfing its way into the hearts and duodenums of Minneapolis since 1933, when the end of Prohibition finally let its chefs sterilize cooking utensils with alcohol rather than throw them away after a single use. Treat your liberated taste buds to a thoroughly modern tickling with a glass of effervescent champagne, versatile red, or intriguing white wine from Jax's extensive wine menu, best when paired with a plate of palate-pokers such as Jax's "famous" crab rolls ($8.95), N'awlins cajun shrimp ($9.95), or gorgonzola cheesebread ($7.95). But Jax Café's menu is best known for its steaks and chops. Carnal connoisseurs can get their professional-grade protein in the form of slow-roasted prime rib ($28.95) seasoned and served with au jus, creamy horseradish, and a baked potato; center-cut New York strip steak ($38.95) served with a baked potato; bone-in steer tenderloin ($42.95) topped with a giant mushroom cap and served with a baked potato; and twin lamb chops ($31.95) served with mint jelly and a baked potato. Seasoned seafarers, meanwhile, can pick out their own whole Maine lobster ($48), pan-seared scallops ($26.95), and rainbow trout ($26.95) out back before getting reacquainted with it under slightly more cooked and lemon-buttered circumstances in the burnished glow of the dining room. All entrees come with your choice of soup or house salad.
With three generations of restaurant-owning experience, the Kozlak family puts forward high-quality American fare with an emphasis on excellent service in a comfortable neighborhood setting. Only certified-Angus-beef steaks and prime rib, as well as fresh seafood, are found on the extensive menu. House cuts include the Bone-In Steer Tenderloin ($41.95), which is considered the finest steak available, fusing the flavor of the bone with the tenderness of the filet. The Filet Oscar ($42.95) is topped with crab meat and crisp asparagus and finished with smooth béarnaise sauce. For all non–beef eaters, the pinnacle of comfort food is found in the creamy abyss of the chicken pot pie ($12.95). There are many other chicken, lamb, pasta, pork, and seafood choices, including a dish that consists of watching neighboring diners feast.
Granite City Food & Brewery, a casual family restaurant founded by hospitality experts, has an on-site brewery and a menu stuffed with more steak, seafood, pasta, flatbread pizza, burger, and sandwich options than Abe Lincoln had dollar bills stuffed in his top hat. Gourmet pub-grub appetizers and many other generously portioned dishes are listed alongside the beers that bring out their flavors. The intoxicating taste of the inebriated vodka mussels ($12.99) is suggested alongside Northern Light––a light creamy beer––and the juicy, tender meatiness of a 14-ounce New York strip ($25.99) is advised along with Brother Benedict’s bock––a brownish German-style lager. Others among Granite City Food & Brewery's six specialty brews are the Irish-style Broad Axe stout, known for its nose of roasted chocolate and coffee notes, and Duke Of Wellington, an IPA with muscle-bound malt character and a deep-seated dislike of Napoleon.
At Osaka Golden Valley in St. Louis Park, a talented team of chefs is split between two delicious specialties—sushi and hibachi. Each day, they perform a culinary spectacle for guests, transforming fresh seafood into maki and sashimi at the sushi bar or searing meats and veggies tableside at hibachi grills. Their gourmet repertoire also includes traditional Japanese entrees such as teriyaki, tempura, and noodle dishes. With seven locations in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, the restaurant franchise keeps locals packed with enough soy sauce to withstand Minnesota's harsh winters and harsher condiment famines.
The culinary team at Common Roots Cafe believes that the best way to create a welcoming restaurant is to fully embrace local flavor in every sense of the word. Even the interior speaks to this mission—reclaimed barn wood makes up the dining room's floorboards and tabletops, the counter is composed of recycled cardboard, and the air is one-hundred percent Minnesotan. The overall effect is one of casual warmth, an atmosphere that makes the cafe an ideal spot for guests to chew on eclectic, yet accessible, cuisine and relax with a choice of 10 local craft beers.
The menu itself also bursts with hometown pride, highlighting local organic and sustainable ingredients. As much as half of the restaurant's food comes from farms located within 250 miles of Minneapolis, while some produce is picked right outside the door at the cafe's urban garden. And since the selection of ingredients alters with the seasons, the chefs adapt their dishes each month to showcase their fresh flavors. Previous offerings have included redfish tacos with jicama slaw, mac 'n' cheese with local cheddar, and house-made tagliatelle pasta topped with a hearty bison bolognese sauce. Bites are complemented with sips from a drink list featuring wines—many made from organic grapes—and local beers. And, in the unlikely event that diners leave any food on their plates, the scraps are carefully composted to continue the cafe's green production cycle.