Best Minneapolis restaurant dishes of 2013

Dig in.

Callie Sacarelos

Foodies of Minneapolis rejoiced during the last year as trendy new restaurants popped up all over town.

With a slew of up-and-coming chefs taking the driver’s seat and some of the most innovative guys behind the line reinventing themselves, it appears that most of these restaurants are here to stay.

 

Raw foie gras
Burch Steak House, 1933 S. Colfax Ave., Minneapolis

Located at the tip of the Wedge neighborhood, Burch is an upscale steakhouse that also serves hand-tossed pizzas in the basement. But its best dishes are arguably the raw starters.

The current menu includes a foie gras crème brulee with orange marmalade, but earlier in the year, the restaurant served a superior version of foie that was simply whipped into a silky cream and served with toasted hazelnuts, lemon and a thin cracker on a clear glass dish.

Quality duck liver has such intense natural flavors that the best way to enjoy it is on its own. This sweet and salty mousse melts in your mouth, leaving behind a hint of maple.

 

Octopus
Borough, 730 N. Washington Ave., Minneapolis

Borough changes its menu several times a year. Fortunately, octopus is still available, but it’s prepared differently this time around.

Sometimes octopus can be rubbery and unpleasant to chew, but chefs at Borough clearly know what they’re doing. The dish is always tender and soft, no matter what crazy garnish it’s paired with.

This year’s best version included jalapeños for heat, a fermented black bean and soy glaze and butternut squash curry to round it out.

 

Pork belly ramen
Umami, 904 W. Broadway Ave, Minneapolis

The guys behind Travail make noodles fresh daily. Their refusal to use day-old noodles means that sometimes they’re making them on the fly on a busy Saturday night.

The noodles are served with fatty, tender pork belly glazed in sweet soy sauce, with a light shiitake purée and fresh shiitakes. The kimchi dashi broth brings everything together to create layers of flavor, aromatics and subtle heat.

 

Savory donut holes
Union Restaurant and Rooftop,  731 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

The opening chef at Union may have moved on to start his own restaurant, but he left a tantalizing treat in his wake.

These bacon and shallot donut holes are dusted with powdered apple cider vinegar and served with a melted salty västerbotten cheese sauce.

There are enough pastry balls to share with a friend, but they’re so addicting and easy to pop in your mouth that you might want to get your own order — with an extra side of sauce.