Ten years ago, an intrepid French chef known for his gourmet cuisine rafted across the Atlantic in search of the channel that separated France from Italy, but he landed on the shores of New Jersey instead. Today’s Groupon sets your taste buds on their own voyage: for $25, you get $55 worth of French- and Italian-inspired fare at East Isles' Duplex Restaurant & Bar, named Minneapolis’s Best Neighborhood Bistro by Mpls.St.Paul magazine and Best Restaurant for a First Date by City Pages.
Combining the familiarity of eating in with the comfort of having other people cook for you, Duplex offers delectable dishes in the intimate confines of a hybrid house-restaurant. For lunch, try an order of crowd-baiting poutine (fries topped with white cheddar cheese curds and brown gravy, $6.99), potato gnocchi (with roasted portobello mushrooms, dried tomatoes, shallots, and parmesan, $13.69), or a beef brisket sandwich (Angus beef topped with caramelized onions and dijon, $8.99). Like car-eating monster-truck exhibitions, brunch is reserved for Sunday and offers items such as roasted beets with St. Pete’s blue cheese ($7.99) and trout soft scramble (scrambled eggs, smoked trout, cream cheese, cilantro, green onion, orange crème fraiche, and toast, $8.99). For dinner, you can sample the coconut curry black-bean soup ($4.99), grilled hangar steak (with dijon demi-glace, braised bok choy, caramelized onion, and potato gratin, $19.99), or blackened catfish (served on creamy tomato cilantro hominy, $16.99).
Like a tuxedo T-shirt, Duplex’s fusion of class and comfort is seamless. With its romantic setting, reasonable prices, creative cuisine, and polished service, Duplex offers a dining experience just like a fancy one on a reality TV series.
Gayot lists Duplex as one of Minneapolis' Best Romantic Restaurants. The Star Tribune, the Southwest Journal, and Mpls.St.Paul magazine have all featured the restaurant, praising its superb sustenance:
- Candlelight and fresh flowers keep it romantic; friendly servers make us feel comfy and relaxed. Dinners often commence with a complimentary amuse-bouche, and starters like the steamed mussels can even make a tasty meal. Still, for a good, palate-teasing jumpstart, we're partial to the roasted beet salad with pickled cukes and candied pistachios. – Gayot
- My favorites among the four entrees…were roulades of salmon wrapped around spinach and garlic, bathed in Bearnaise; and the bison l'allemande, which turns out to be a fancy name for Salisbury steak -- a bit chewy, but not tough, and flavored with shittakes and a hint of foie gras. – Jeremy Iggers, Star Tribune
- It's so great to find a place that has fun, inspired, creative food, especially when it's offered at reasonable prices. We had the sweet potato fries, pork tenderloin and chicken fettuccini, and everything was delicious. A huge wine and beer list with tons of imports mean you won't go thirsty! – K. Brenny, Urbanspoon