Important restaurants keep exploding all over the Twin Cities. Grand Cafe joins the list that includes Spoon & Stable, Heyday, Bellecour, Corner Table and many new to the scene like Kado No Mise and Martina, that are proof positive Minnesota is ground zero for some of the best food in America.
Grand Café is a game changer. Chef Jamie Malone, known for her stint at Sea Change, has focused on perfecting the craft of French classics reimagined for a new generation of diners. Plates emerge from the kitchen as stylish and crave-able as any in the country. Malone’s expertise with seafood shines—the oysters, with dollops of caviar perched on each briny bivalve, are spectacular. The ‘slices of raw fish’ is an understated small taste—the aged cured hamachi I ate on one visit would be the envy of any Michelin-starred sushi bar in New York or L.A. Don’t skip the jambonette of chicken, sent out to the table like a bite sized ham, or the foie gras royale, the classic preparation requiring a skill set that simply makes it unfeasible for most restaurants. Both the tarte flambé and pork terrine are deeply flavored and stunning to look at, haunting me even weeks after a visit. The Escoffier-era meltingly tender pike quenelles with crayfish sauce arrive with a huge “#onlyinMN” sticker, the local lake fish and crayfish echoing two of our state’s finest ingredients that never get menu play anywhere else.
The food that comes out of the kitchen is brilliant and smart, and the intimate, even romantic atmosphere is the perfect compliment. Hand-painted verdant French wallpaper lines the small dining room adorned with blush and gold accents. Table tops are covered in an eclectic mix of vintage plates, glasses and flatware—décor maybe more suited for a dinner party than a chic restaurant, but an aesthetic that works beautifully here. The age of the building is not hidden but embraced, and the cozy neighborhood vibe left in tact.
3804 Grand Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55409
Photograph by Melissa Berg.