Tullibee, the great-looking, Nordic-themed restaurant in the just-opened Hewing Hotel, features a Minnesota stalwart, one that (curiously) I've rarely — if ever — encountered in a restaurant in the Scandinavian-centric Twin Cities.
Lefse. Yes, lefse.
Technically, chef Grae Nonas bills his version of this Lutheran church basement delicacy as "potato flatbread."
Whatever the name, it's delicious: crisped on the edges, and dressed with sour cream and coral-tinted herring roe.
Should the carb-conscious order it instead of the crusty, warm-from-the-oven sourdough, served with tangy butter? Get both.
Nonas makes full use of his kitchen's wood-burning grill and oven, roasting celery root in the fire's embers and sneaking in subtle horseradish accents.
Another wallflower vegetable, kohlrabi, plays a role in a soup with hearty duck meatballs at its center.
At dinner, entrees include cod with thinly shaved parsnips, sturgeon with woody mushrooms and bone-in pork chops scented with dill, along with Minnesota-raised duck, bison bone marrow and elk. Desserts include a vibrant spice cake with tart cranberries.
Entree prices hover in the mid- to upper-$20s, starters and shareable dishes land in the $9-to-$19 range, and desserts run $8 and $9.
The wide-open room is all exposed timbers and bricks, with enormous windows that boast big-city skyline views.
It's confirmation that the North Loop is the region's hottest restaurant real estate. What a boost to the city to see this historic but long-underused building teeming with life.
300 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 1-866-501-3300, hewinghotel.com. Open 6:30-11 a.m. daily for breakfast, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon.-Sat. for lunch, 5-10 p.m. Sun.-Thu. and 5-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat. for dinner, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sun. for brunch.