The Restaurant Guide: Eat Street

Updated 10/11/2013

Diverse Nicollet Avenue has a new anchor.

EAT STREET BUDDHA KITCHEN

Asian • $$ • 2550 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls. • 612-886-2617

If the ghost of Azia still haunts the corner of 26th and Nicollet, Mike Tupa isn’t exactly performing an exorcism. The cowboy-bar baron has taken over the location with a brand-new, eerily similar Asian fusion lounge of his own. Like its predecessor, Eat Street Buddha Kitchen & Lounge is jumping into the sushi, sake and late-night game. For all its conceptual and culinary similarities to Azia (oyster wings and even cranberry wontons on the menu!), the most conspicuous difference is the whopping 56-foot booze and raw bar that now fills the LED-flecked front room. A mobile DJ booth/sound system built to match Buddha Kitchen’s decor — think an Uptown-ized emperor’s parlor — will slide into the corner and bump beats through the bar and restaurant’s three rooms Thursday through Saturday nights. Jhade Smith devised the “farm-to-glass” cocktail list with an on-trend focus on fresh ingredients and juices. Michael Rietmulder

 

BUDGET

JASMINE DELI

From bountiful spring rolls to hot bowls of soulfully flavored soup to broken rice plates, Jasmine Deli has become a temple of Vietnamese cheap eats. (2532 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-870-4700.)

 

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ASIAN TASTE: Takeout-ready Chinese food, sushi and a bar, open late-night. (1400 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls. 612-871-2898.)

THE BAD WAITRESS: American. Winkingly divey diner makes customers write down their own orders at the counter, but the food delivered by the perfectly competent wait staff makes up for the inconvenience. Well-executed spins on classic American fare, including a robust breakfast selection. (2 E. 26th St., Mpls., 612-872-7575.) (James Norton)

HOANG THIEN Y DELI: Vietnamese. Serving up cuisine ranging from the comforting (pork bahn mi) to the confounding (tripe and durian fruit, for starters). Go in with an open mind and flexible palate. (2738 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-874-9145.) (J.N.)

KRUNGTHEP THAI: Authentic Thai cooking including soups, curries, salads, spring rolls and more. (2523 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-874-7721.)

LITTLE TIJUANA: Mexican favorites from this college rite of passage, which recently added a bar. (17 E. 26th St., Mpls., 612-872-0578.)

PANCHO VILLA: Mexican. Familiar items such as tacos, burritos and enchiladas alongside a variety of more exotic dishes. Service is friendly and portions very large. (2539 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-871-7014.)

PHO TAU BAY: Asian/Vietnamese. It’s a little farther off the beaten path than Quang and the two Jasmine restaurants, but this is some of the best and most interesting food on the street. Try anything with the house barbecued pork — a broken rice plate or noodle dish, for example. (2837 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-874-6060.) (J.N.)

SALSA A LA SALSA: Creative Mexican cuisine, incorporating the use of various Mexican peppers and spices to prepare dishes like Puerco con Nopalitos en Salsa Roja, Camarones a la Diabla and Salmon Tatemado, plus standard Mexican favorites. (1420 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-813-1970.)

TIBET KITCHEN: Asian. Tibetan curries, stir-fries and rice dishes. (1833 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls. 872-8663.)

 

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BLACK FOREST INN: German. The schnitzel and sauerbraten are good year-round, and on a sunny summer day there’s no more blissful place to quaff a stein of Hacker-Pschorr or carve up a bratwurst than the lovely patio. (1 E. 26th St., Mpls., 612-872-0812.)

EAT STREET SOCIAL: American. Spot-on mixology, beautiful people and solid bistro fare. Visit at happy hour and try the pinxos — Spanish- and Brazilian-inspired grilled meats on skewers served with heavily buttered char-grilled bread. (18 W. 26th St., Mpls. 612-767-6850.) (Mecca Bos)