February 10, 2013
112 North 3rd Street Minneapolis, MN | www.112eatery.com
James Beard Award winning chef, Isaac Becker, has established quite a name for himself in the Twin Cities in recent years. His two restaurants, Bar La Grassa and 112 Eatery, are among the most popular dining spots in the cities – for good reason. While Bar La Grassa focuses on Italian inspired fare, 112 Eatery is a much more eclectic establishment pulling influences from around the world.
Given 112 Eatery’s popularity any would-be diner should definitely make a reservation. While walk-ins are welcomed space is limited. We arrived at just past 5:00pm – opening time – for this recent visit. Within a half hour the entire lower level was filled and there was standing room only at the bar. With so many people in a confined space, the atmosphere of the restaurant is bustling and loud.
This was my second visit to 112 Eatery. The menu’s mainstays have remained unchanged in the year between visits but some items do rotate and change. There are many delightful-sounding dishes to try so we opted to order a variety of plates and share.
The duck and radicchio salad is an array of slight bitter flavors paired with the gaminess of duck. Each component individually is rather simple but when combined into a full, mixed bite the dish proved quite tasty.
One of the mainstay appetizers of the menu, these fritters are so simple in appearance but burst with flavor. Perfectly battered and fried cauliflowers provide a nice outer crisp with tender, soft cauliflower within. The addition of cheese and lemon juice creates a pop of flavor as you take your first bites.
With fatty lusciousness and thoughtful seasoning 112 Eatery’s take on steak tartare was delicious. The full flavor of beef comes through each bite, complemented by mild herbs and a slight zesty undertone. The mildly oily mouthfeel of the tartare is cut by the toasted baguettes. Crisp onions lend a little more texture to the plate along with a slight sweetness.
Yet another very simple dish in appearance that delights the palate, the pan fried gnocchi is another staple of 112 Eatery’s menu. While I prefer Bar La Grassa’s version a little more, this still features the same soft, pillow-like texture you crave in gnocchi. The slight saltiness of cheese complements the buttery gnocchi well.
Chef Becker’s interpretation of this classic Vietnamese sandwich does not disappoint. The duck pâté is rich and heavy with the flavors of offal, making a strong statement on the palate. The pâté is balanced beautifully with sour vinegar notes from the pickled vegetables. The peppers in the sandwich add a surprising strong burst of heat which rounds out the dish.
Tender, fall-off-the-bone pork was the centerpiece of our final plate. The slow cooking process brings out the full flavor of the pork throughout the dish. Each bite of pork brings great savory notes and a satisfying fattiness. The tangy, bitter, and sweet flavors of the accompanying vegetable slaw provide a thoughtful balance of flavor.
For this visit we did not delve into the dessert menu very heavily (we did order the Tres Leches cake but I did not snap a photo). From my experience with 112 Eatery’s desserts in previous visits I can say that ordering one or two is certainly a worthwhile endeavor, provided you left room for dessert of course. Highlights off the dessert menu for me would be the Tres Leches cake and the Butterscotch Budino.
Compared to Bar La Grassa, 112 Eatery’s menu is much more varied and offers flavors from multiple cultures and influences. The fusion of flavors here makes for an interesting and fun dining experience. 112 Eatery is most certainly one of the Twin Cities’ premier dining establishments.
For those who have not had the chance to dine at one of these two restaurants, I would definitely recommend you do so soon. I have visited both places on multiple occasions now and have always been very pleased with the level of service and quality of food. Both restaurants provide top-notch cuisine in a bustling, exciting atmosphere.
112 N 3rd street
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Tagged with: American • Chef Isaac Becker • Fusion • James Beard Award • Minneapolis • Minnesota