This past Monday (March 24, 2008), three Minneapolis chefs were nominated for the James Beard Foundation’s Award for “Best Chef Midwest.” I am lucky to say that I ate at all three of their restaurants on a recent, butt-bitingly frosty visit to the Twin Cities.
How’s that for foresight?
Despite all good intentions to write about that trip and those meals, life and work intervened in the days and weeks (alas, and month) following. All blogging activity ground to a halt.
Emerging from the morass, I did manage to post a synopsis of my my dinner at 112 eatery, Isaac Becker’s casual, internationally-inflected restaurant. (Can I call it a gastropub? I really want to call it a gastropub. It feels like a gastropub.)
Now, having clawed my way back to sufficiently solid ground, and with an extra push from the James Beard Foundation nominations, I’ve decided that share my experiences at the other two Twin Cities nominees’ restaurants, Tim McKee’s (vaunted) La Belle Vie and Alex Roberts’ Restaurant Alma. Both McKee and Roberts rejoin Chef Colby Garrelts of bluestem (Kansas City) for a second consecutive year as nominees in the Best Chef Midwest category.
It would also be criminal for me not to mention Lenny Russo. He’s the beloved owner and chef of Heartland (and responsible for the Cue at the Guthrie), a restaurant for which he’s garnered many awards and honors. Although Russo wasn’t nominated this year for a James Beard Award, I think that his unique locally-minded cooking bears mentioning. So, I will follow my blog posts about my meals at La Belle Vie and Restaurant Alma with one about my dinner at Heartland.