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Continued: Figlio, Uptown's shuttered stalwart, resurfaces at the West End

  • Article by: RICK NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 24, 2013 - 9:12 AM

Burgers hit all the right grace notes. Side dishes are a pleasingly idiosyncratic lot, and salads are thoughtfully composed. And in the evenings, there’s a fork-tender pot roast, its mouthwatering scent a constant reminder of the beef’s unhurried red-wine braise.

The restaurant might be better off ignoring specific parts of its past and forging ahead. For example, skip “Joe’s Eggs,” a not-remarkable blast-from-the-past hash, in favor of “JP’s Eggs,” Samuelson’s much more palatable poached egg-salt cod-béarnaise sandwich.

Location, location, location

Now in its third restaurant iteration, the space echoes its two previous tenants but doesn’t manage to muster up much of its own personality. Vast and generic, it makes little effort to resemble its Calhoun Square predecessor, at least beyond a few random artifacts, including a couple of the restaurant’s famously snarky billboards and several iterations of its logos.

Turns out some qualities aren’t easily replicated, including sexual tension. While the bar at the original Figlio was synonymous with hookup — if there wasn’t a cocktail named “Remove Your Wedding Ring,” there should have been — it’s tough to imagine anyone getting anything going in St. Louis Park. Chalk that up to the difference between Uptown’s varied urban setting and the West End’s prefabricated aura.

Still, come doggy bag time (an inevitability in this House of Large Portions), the Figlio of old comes rushing back. Yes, it’s the triumphant return of the restaurant’s aluminum foil swans, the showy leftover vessel that remains equal parts tacky, endearingly retro and hilarious.

Foilgami, as a friend of mine calls it. Nice touch.

 

Follow Rick Nelson on Twitter: @ricknelsonstrib

 


 

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  • Line cook John Gustafson worked the pizza oven during a typically busy lunch hour.

  • Figlio

  • Figlio

  • Figlio

  • Figlio ⋆⋆

    www.figlio.com • 952-345-2400

    Location: 5331 W. 16th St. (Shops at West End), 
St. Louis Park

    Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Wed., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Thu., 11 a.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat., 
10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.

    Atmosphere

    A wide-open, decor-lite space that sprawls like a suburban McMansion. Best seats are at the racetrack-shaped bar, or the up-close-and-personal kitchen table. Loud but not painfully so when full.

    Service

    Unfailingly enthusiastic, frequently plugged-in but occasionally vacant.

    Price ranges

    Small plates $8.95-$14.95, pizzas $11.95-$13.95, pastas $12.95-$19.95, entrees $11.95-$26.95 (some slightly lower at lunch), desserts $6.95-$7.95.

    Recommended dishes

    Pizzas, porchetta, short ribs, pappardelle with lamb sugo, steak frites, burger, chocolate cake.

    Wine list

    Familiar and populist-priced wines, a dozen local tap beers and a long list of specialty cocktails, including Figlio’s signature plus-sized bloody Mary.

    Special menus

    Many vegetarian items, one gluten-free pasta.

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