Pairings Food and Wine Market in Minnetonka

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Combine the wares of Surdyk’s Liquor and Cheese Shop with the clean, sunny vibe and enormous baked goods of Yum! Kitchen and Bakery, and you’ll get a fairly accurate sense of what the new Pairings Food and Wine Market brings to the west metro. Opening its doors earlier this week among the office-park row that is Shady Oak Rd. in Minnetonka, Pairings likens itself to a European market that offers cheeses, charcuterie, wine, and spirits along with prepared meals, bakery treats, and gourmet dry goods such as pasta, beans, and chocolates.

The large dining room serves three meals daily, with the expected egg-based dishes for breakfast and brunch and a variety of salads, sandwiches, panini, pasta, and pizzas made to order for lunch and dinner. At first glance, much of the menu may look very similar to Panera’s, but hopefully Pairings’ focus on local ingredients whenever possible (and higher price point — salads and sandwiches at Pairings range from $7.50-$9.50) will push the flavor to the next level.

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

A case also offers a rotating selection of ready-to-eat meals that, upon sampling, proved to be tasty and tender. Grilled beef tenderloin ($14.95 for 6 oz. of meat with two sides) was perfectly medium rare with a salty, smoky bite, and buttermilk-marinated grilled chicken wings ($2 for three) provided tangy morsels of meat that almost melted on the tongue. A creamy potato gratin had a pleasingly silky texture and delicate flavor, but the relative sharpness of the porcini mushroom risotto cake ($2.50) failed to match the luxuriousness of the other dishes. The humongous brownie ($2.50), practically ubiquitous at gourmet markets these days, had a rich cocoa flavor that was begging for a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The cheese counter was a pleasant surprise, glistening with almost untouched wedges of domestic and international choices that this cheese lover appreciated. Those looking for Pleasant Ridge Reserve or other artisan cheeses no longer have to venture to Minneapolis for their preferred fromages.

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

The wine shop stocks a thoughtful selection of wine, liquor, and beer at a price point more in line with France 44 or Surdyk’s than Trader Joe’s. Most bottles ranged from $12 to $25, though a few priced at $7 could be found among the racks. Many varieties are available in half-bottles, making them perfect to add to a picnic basket, which Pairings also sells on the market side of the store.

It will be interesting to see how Pairings’ neighbors will embrace the market in the next few months, but it has all the elements of a successful shop: flavorful food, affordable wines, and enough elbow room to ensure a pleasant shopping and dining experience. But despite attentive service from the food market manager, the other staff still seemed to be in training mode and tended to hang back rather than engage customers. Hopefully, this will change as they settle into their new roles as gourmet ambassadors to the west side of town.

Pairings Food and Wine Market

Gourmet food and wine shop in Minnetonka
6001 Shady Oak Rd.
Minnetonka, MN 55343
HOURS:
Food Market
Mon-Thurs 7am-9pm
Fri 7am-10pm
Sat 8am-10 pm
Sun 8am-9pm
Wine Shop
Mon-Thurs 10am-9pm
Fri-Sat 9am-9am
Closed Sunday
BAR: Wine and beer
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED: No / No
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / No
ENTREE RANGE: $7-15

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Jill Lewis

The great-granddaughter of an Eastern European Jewish baker, Jill Lewis cannot escape her genetic predisposition to carbs. Her love of baked goods, wine, cheese and chocolate may not come in handy for her day job as a Twin Cities PR professional, but it proves infinitely helpful for her gigs as a contributing writer for The Heavy Table and the co-author of the Cheese and Champagne blog. A former resident of Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin and suburban Washington, D.C., Jill now lives with her husband, two young sons and cat in St. Louis Park.

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10 Comments

  1. We were at Pairings on Wednesday night and thought it was amazing! The food was great and the service was good, too. I love the fact that you can get a bottle of wine in the wine shop and take it over to the food shop and enjoy it on the patio with food. The selection of cheeses are great. This was a much needed concept for the west side.

  2. The coppa looks really tasty!

  3. bring one to Minneapolis…

  4. I have eaten at Pairings Food and Wine Market at least a dozen times now and it is by far the best new eatery in town!

  5. Pairings has been a fantastic addition to the SW loop of 494 area. The pastas are tender, tasty and thoughtfully enrobed with a variety of sauces to ensure that you will want to run through the menu from A to Z! The wood-fired pizzas are flavorful featuring a great list of top drawer ingredients for make-your-own or a great group of gourmet combos. Each of the salads I have tried have been super fresh and generously portioned and again a build-your-own option is available. The offerings continue and I have to keep visiting in order to try them all. Become a regular, you won’t regret it.

  6. Buddydave06/08/2009Reply

    First visit was a success. Had the kids with, so sadly I didn’t have much opportunity to scout the wine shop. But the cafe and market were pleasant, the kids enjoyed the pizza, and (two weeks after opening) the staff seem to have things figured out and were extremely helpful. Hope they keep things interesting with sales, tasting events, etc., which should increase the shop’s profile and their chance of success in this area.

  7. Great Food! Wonderful, friendly staff!

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