Corner Table
Owners Thomas Boemer and Nick Rancone made an inspired decision when they recruited Borough vet Karyn Tomlinson to run their kitchen. Tomlinson’s work (best savored in a three-course, $45 format) is imaginative, exacting and exciting (plus, she bakes a wicked-good popover). Go, and take a seat at the cozy kitchen counter. Dinner Monday through Saturday.
4537 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-823-0011, cornertablerestaurant.com

The Kenwood
At this five-year-old gem, chef/owner Don Saunders has created what could be considered the model neighborhood restaurant, serving all kinds of dining needs (from casual to celebratory) with skilled cooking and gracious hospitality. Watch (and learn) from the kitchen crew from the counter’s up-close-and-personal seats. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday.
2115 W. 21st St., Mpls., 612-377-3695, thekenwoodrestaurant.com

Tenant
One of the city’s smallest restaurants is also one of its most charming. And daring. The menu? A six-course, 90-minute (and $50) meal that’s served by the four chefs doing the cooking. The best seats in the house are the eight spots lining the L-shaped kitchen counter. Reservations required, dinner Tuesday through Saturday.
4300 Bryant Av. S., Mpls., 612-827-8111, tenantmpls.com