Isaac Becker of 112 Eatery, Bar La Grassa and Burch.
On an otherwise inconspicuous Tuesday evening, Burch Steak & Pizza Bar officially opened its doors last night for business after three nights of soft openings. Its name is an homage to its location's predecessor - the quirky independent pharmacy and corner shop known best for its adorably-garish, hoarders-style seasonal windows displays. Burch Steak & Pizza Bar, however, is stylistically pretty much the opposite: open and elegant with simple lines, exposed brick, an open kitchen and an intriguing cavernous basement for more casual family fun or secret tryst dining around the pizza oven hearth.
Burch Steak bears all of the hallmarks of Isaac Becker's other wildly successful hotspots (112 Eatery and Bar La Grassa), with friendly and approachable service, interesting menu twists and - most importantly - solidly great food. Burch has a raw bar, extensive wine list, cozy bar space and ... wait, DUMPLINGS! A fascinating array of dumplings are on offer in myriad styles: bone marrow, pretzel, Georgian Khinkali, beloved pierogi. Predictably, I opted for the Germanic Schupfnudel ($6): rich, sweet, and wheaty gnocchi-like cylindrical cuties smothered in gorgonzola, walnut and crumb topping.
But the main event is the steak, grass-fed from Grass Run Farms or Niman Ranch natural or prime beef. My 8-ounce medium-rare natural beef filet ($40) was as lush as expected and accompanied by a little square dish of coriander-seed infused pickled enoki mushrooms, a classic Bearnaise sauce, and some mighty fine house-made steak sauce that hit all the right palate buttons in an A+1+ kind of way. That first bite reminded me of Agent Cooper from "Twin Peaks" and his cherry pie- and coffee-euphoria induced outbursts. Next time, I am going to Burch with someone named Norma so I can shout: "Norma, that's a damn fine steak!" Or maybe I will just do that anyway.
Where: 1942 Hennepin Av. S. Burch Steak: (612) 843-1515; Burch Pizza Bar: (612) 843-1500.
[Photo: Tom Wallace]