“Bar Food” at Burch Steakhouse and Pizza Bar

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

As compensation for brutal winters, Minnesotans are blessed with endless enviable summer activities. Deciding which outdoor movie, block party, or food fest to attend can be daunting. Now we’re adding one more item to your summer activity “to do” list. Unlike many of the others, this one isn’t free. It’s not even cheap. But it’s sure worth it. So here’s the plan:

1. Go to Burch at 5pm on a sunny day. You may need to leave work early, but this step is critical. Arriving at opening ensures an hour or two of peaceful eating and chatting before dinner service ramps up.

2. Sit at the bar. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and professional. And the bar! It’s beautiful, long, and wide enough for amassing plates and glasses, and the high-backed chairs are super comfy. Most importantly, the sun shines through the floor-to-ceiling windows, basking the bar in a warm summer glow.

3. Order a drink and sample the “bar food.” Technically, Burch doesn’t do bar food, but its small plates are absolutely worth a leery look from your coworker when you breeze out early. Our current favorite combo:

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Lamb Tartare ($13): Featuring extremely fresh, lean lamb from Niman Ranch, this cool dish is a summer treat. Whole mustard seeds, roasted fresno peppers, flake salt, and mint combine for serious flavor, mellowed skillfully by sheep’s milk yogurt. Our only critique (and it’s a very small one) is that the lamb flavor gets a bit lost among the other, strong components.

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Crispy Soft Shell Crab ($15): “Buffalo-style Crab Wings”! Umm, okay, not quite. But the exquisitely fried crustaceans come atop shaved celery and a smooth, “bitey” blue cheese. Tabasco in the batter and Thai chili oil on the plate bring the “Buffalo.” We’re coming back for this one before the crabs go out of season.

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Triple Cooked Chips ($9): Nine dollars for a plate of potato wedges? Yeah, we thought that too. But then we thought, “What if there is a plate of potatoes that is worth $9 and we’re the jerks who don’t try it?” Yep, they’re killer — possibly the best fried potatoes in the area. According to the bartender, the chef boils the potatoes to reduce moisture (science!) and then fries them twice. The result is masterful: tender on the inside, super crisp on the outside. Dusted with salt and dipped in plain ketchup (thank you!), the golden brown wedges are filling and addictive and filling some more.

Following this simple, three-step plan to deliciousness is one surefire way to stave off that feeling that the summer days are already slipping away. Savor as part of a random day, a special staycation, or even to impress friends from out of town while you wait for The Heavy Table to publish its forthcoming out-of-towner’s guide to eating in the Twin Cities.

Burch Steakhouse and Pizza Bar, 1933 Colfax Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55403; 612.843.1515

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

 

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About the Author

Joshua Page

Joshua Page became fascinated with food as a young latchkey cook in Southern California. He developed a passion for eating out while working in “the industry” in college and procrastinating (and accruing debt) as a graduate student. Now a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota, Joshua also loves to write— when it’s not about crime, law, and punishment, his musings are about Twin Cities eateries.

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