First Look: Brasserie Zentral brings a taste of Austria to downtown Minneapolis
|The main dining room of Brasserie Zentral, now open in downtown Minneapolis|
The much anticipated second restaurant from Meritage owners Russell and Desta Klein is now open in downtown Minneapolis and the rich, old-world vibe and continental cuisine will make you feel like you're supping in a fancy Austrian dining car.
The sights and sounds of construction outside -- some renovations to the historic Soo Line building that houses the restaurant are still underway -- might just as quickly jolt you from that reverie. But get a few bites into one of Brasserie Zentral's elegantly composed European standards, and you'll soon find that luxury again.
Helmed by chef de cuisine Troy Unruh, the kitchen turns out refined continental dishes with a distinctly Austrian bent. Lunch is reasonably priced, with a selection of pastas made in house, salads, sandwiches, and a pared down selection of the dinner menu's main plates, including bratwurst, schnitzel, and vegetable holishkes -- all for under $20.
Dinner brings back those pastas, salads, and main courses, and adds sides like Austrian potato salad and artichoke gratin, as well as plates meant for two, such as a $100 prime cote de boeuf and a whole roasted chicken stuffed with brioche and foie gras. Indeed, in case anyone was wondering which side of the foie gras debate the Kleins fall on, the dinner menu includes an entire section dedicated to the stuff, all Minnesota-raised, served seared, roasted, layered with phyllo dough, and as a classic terrine.
|A gruß aus der küche or "greeting from the kitchen" to start|
|Fresh cheese and spring nettle ravioli|
|Troy Unruh, left, in the open kitchen at Brasserie Zentral|
|Braised pork cheeks|
|Caramel kaffeehaus cream|
Brasserie Zentral officially opened on Monday, and serves lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner Monday through Saturday starting at 5 p.m. (the restaurant has a small menu to tide over diners between the lunch and dinner services).