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 $20, you get $40 worth of French- and Italian-inspired new American 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 in 2007.
Combining the comforts of home with the luxury of a professional chef, Duplex offers inventive French- and Italian-inspired dishes in the intimate confines of an actual house. For lunch, bite into an order of poutine (fries topped with white-cheddar-cheese curds and brown gravy, $6.99) or potato gnocchi with roasted portobello mushrooms, dried tomatoes, shallots, and parmesan ($13.69). Like 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 créme fraiche, and toast, $8.99). Dinner’s elegant lineup includes coconut-curry black-bean soup ($4.99), duck pappardelle ($14.99), and grilled hangar steak with dijon demi-glace, braised bok choy, caramelized onion, and potato gratin ($19.99).
Though it’s located within a home, Duplex has a palpable absence of mismatched furniture and dozing cats. It’s totally sleek, with warm wood tables and hot red and orange walls, and the service is equally as sleek (the Star Tribune calls it “polished.”) Like a tuxedo T-shirt, the restaurant’s fusion of class and comfort is seamless.
Not valid on holidays.
Gayot lists Duplex as one of Minneapolis's Best Romantic Restaurants. The Star Tribune, the Southwest Journal, and Mpls.St.Paul magazine have all featured the restaurant, praising its superb sustenance. TripAdvisors give Duplex 3.5 owl-eyes.
- 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 [sic] and a hint of foie gras. – Jeremy Iggers, Star Tribune