Duplex – October 8, 2010

20 10 2010

Duplex
2516 Hennepin Avenue S
Minneapolis
http://www.duplexmpls.com/

An exceptionally beautiful October evening with a warm breeze and a full moon begged for one final dinner outside before the cold (and dare I say… snow!) set in. We obliged. After making a quick drive down Hennepin (and, bonus = snagging parking along the street), we arrived at Duplex to find that other couples, friends and families made similar plans. Umbrella-covered tables scattered across the front patio and front porch were mostly occupied, though the large house-turned-restaurant had yet to fill its tables inside. No one dared miss this last breath of summer weather.

Bar/interior dining

Upon request, our waitress led us to a table on the second level porch overlooking the main patio. Tens of paper lanterns hung from the ceiling, growing brighter as the sun fell around us and Hennepin softened to a fading glow.

Gnocchi and Ravioli

The menu was certainly diverse and inventive. We were interested to try a few dishes, so we opted to split a salad and share our entrees. The salad came first – fresh greens tossed with walnuts, preserved cherries, hunks of brie, and balsamic vinaigrette. The walnuts and cherries fell to the bottom and hid beneath the leaves, so our forks had to specifically seek them out for each bite. But, the overall combination was a delightful change of pace.

Our entrees were less impressive. I can hardly remember how few times I’ve lost interest in my meal to the point where I chose to stop eating, but this instance was one. The potato gnocchi was flavorless, even when mixed with dried tomatoes, mushrooms, shallots and parmesan, and left us sincerely doubting the menu’s “handmade” claim. Plus, the mushrooms were chewy and the dish as a whole was dry and bland. The evening special – butternut squash ravioli – wasn’t much better. Gorgonzola on top of the pasta added zing, but it didn’t jive with the flavors already added to the squash. Mixing such a classic fall vegetable and flavorful cheese was an exciting concept that met lackluster execution.

After dinner, we raved about our view: people racing down Hennepin – atop bikes, in cars or on foot – fully enjoying such a lovely Friday evening with energy and laughter. But our positives for the restaurant stop there.  We were surprised to learn that Duplex has been rated one of the top date-night places in the cities. For ambiance? Perhaps. But when it comes to food and drink, we’d suggest making plans elsewhere.

RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Ambiance/Environment: ♠♠♠♠
Menu Selection: ♠♠♠
Service: ♠♠

Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠
COMPLETE EXPERIENCE: ♠♠1/2

Total bill, including tip: $50

Duplex on Urbanspoon

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4 responses

21 10 2010
Palomino to Close and Morning Roundup | The Heavy Table - Minneapolis-St. Paul and Upper Midwest Food Magazine and Blog

[…] end Jared Allen, Palomino is closing and a new Crave will replace it, the food at Duplex gets somewhat panned, and Mecca snacks at Il Gatto, Travail, Northeast Social, World Street Kitchen. » […]

21 10 2010
katiek

I went to Duplex about a year ago for dinner with some out of town guests.
I had only had drinks and french fries there before. My food was so salty I had to ask the server if the chef was a heavy smoker since he had obviously lost his taste buds. She confirmed he was. I have never been back. A shame because I love the ambiance too.

21 10 2010
Tom

I just go there for the poutine.

30 05 2011
D

Awful service. They worked especially hard to make me feel unwelcome. Avoid this place at all costs.

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