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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.
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