East Lake Street and surrounding areas of Minneapolis is quickly becoming a dining hotspot. With eateries such Longfellow Grill, Birchwood Café, Blue Door Longfellow and Sonora Grill, this area is an ongoing adventure of dining delights. This review highlights The Craftsman Restaurant and Bar a 10 year old local favorite located in an exquisitely restored building which fits the age and décor of the Longfellow neighborhood. Street parking is available as well as a small private lot behind the restaurant which is flanked by an appealing patio which I hope to visit when weather permits.
The Craftsman’s menu changes seasonally and although not extensive each item is prepared to perfection. Under the Starters section, my group of six thoroughly appreciated the Charcuterie with crostini with pickles and mustard, a Selection of artisan cheese, and Hummus with vegetables, olives and crackers. The former is merely a description from the menu but does not adequately describe the presentation of the starters. Two orders of each were sufficient to quiet this group of outspoken professionals (Bill, Bill, Tom, Michael, Phil and myself, “we missed you Fred”) to mere whispers of satisfaction. After a quick hour of enjoying the incredible apps along with some favorite local brews we moved from the bar to dining area. As with the starters the Entrees section is simply flawless! Three chose the massive! grilled pork chop with buttermilk mashed potatoes and brown butter braised greens, two chose the whole roasted rainbow trout with fingerling potatoes, cremini mushrooms, spinach, popcorn cream and smoked paprika, and I selected the duck breast with white bean puree, roasted cauliflower, chestnuts and radicchio. Each entrée was prepared, portioned and served to perfection! Along with the carefully selected menu offerings, The Craftsman has an equally appointed Drinks Menu and Wine List.
There is no doubt that The Craftsman is a winner in all categories and is now a favorite restaurant of mine, enjoy!!
Bill’s Beverage of the Month
Dale’s Pale Ale by Oskar Blues Brewery – American Pale Ale – 6.5% ABV, 65 IBUs
This Colorado based company recently started distributing in Minnesota and this beer is fine example of what Oskar Blues is all about. Dale’s Pale Ale touts itself as “America’s first hand-canned craft beer” and shouldn’t be missed.
Notes from the brewers website: “This voluminously hopped mutha delivers a hoppy nose and assertive-but-balanced flavors of pale malts and citrusy floral hops from start to finish. Oskar Blues launched its canning ops in 2002, brewing and hand-canning Dale’s Pale Ale in the Lyons, ColoRADo, brewpub. America’s first-craft-canned mountain Pale is a hearty, critically acclaimed trailblazer that changed the way craft beer fiends perceive portable beer.”