I think everyone should have at least one restaurant in their “sure to be a crowd pleaser” arsenal.
It’s really, really hard to find a restaurant that everyone loves.
Café & Bar Lurcat is my go-to when I need to please a group or when I just want really good food and don't mind going downtown.
Generally, recognizable traditional American food works for everyone. But seriously, how many good recognizable traditional American food places are there in town? Not many. If you can think of another good contender besides Lurcat, I’d love to hear about it. (But please don’t say Crave.)
And places like Tilia and Corner Table don't count in my recognizable traditional American food camp. They have things on their menus that people who don't truly love food might not really like. They push American food to a different food-loving level. One that is less traditional.
This isn't to say that Lurcat's food isn't great. Because it's really good. It's just also...recognizable. Familiar.
Am I making any sense?
I’ve been to Lurcat for many different occasions: job recruiting dinners, work celebration dinners, happy hours, dinner with friends from out of town (that’s you, Alan), date night…and every time it’s been a winner. The menu items are recognizable, so they appeal to picky eaters, but they're sophisticated enough in their preparation that foodies love them too.
I’ll fess up, I haven’t travelled the menu all that much. There are some favorites that are just too stellar to pass up. It is for sure that when I pull up and hand my car off to valet (the best method of parking there at night b/c Loring Park can be a little sketch), I know what I’m getting.
And here you are, the must-haves:
The Apple, Cheese, and Chive Salad: I'm not a salad girl by any means. This is the only one I truly love. It's julienned apples, julienned manchego, and chives. And it's perfect and fresh. That's all I'm going to say about it; you have to taste it to believe it.
The Lurcat Burgers: mini sliders that somehow just completely surpass any other burger. The buns are super buttery, the meat is full of chopped onion that gives it awesome flavor. We served these during cocktail hour for our wedding, I eat them almost every time I’m in the restaurant, and I’ve eaten them cold left-over. And they’re still seriously good cold and left-over. Not many burgers can say that when they’re cold. These babies are on the bar menu, but you can order them in the restaurant too.
The French Fries: not so original, I know. But when you pair a good solid fry with a ramekin of béarnaise, you can make someone very, very happy. That someone would be me.
The Sea Bass Marinated in Miso: Lurcat is famous for this dish. This is the dish everyone thinks of who has been to Lurcat. A lovely piece of velvety sea bass, marinated in miso and broiled, giving it a sweet crust. Served with Asian slaw. You feel like you’re magically indulging and being healthy all at the same time.
The Roasted Cauliflower: when cauliflower is done well, it’s amazing. We have some good cauliflower dishes in this town. At Lurcat, they thinly slice it and roast it. This produces a vegetable side that is full of caramelized goodness and saltiness. I could eat heads and heads of cauliflower prepared this way.
The Warm Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts: these are actually mini doughnuts, and they’re perfect for a group for dessert (or for a couple that wants to pig out).
I think pretty much anything on the menu would be a safe bet. Last Friday when I was there, I also tried the Hanger Steak with Sweet Garlic Confit, and that was also delicious.
The bar at Lurcat is a perfect date night option, and the restaurant is good for more special occasions or with groups. Friday night my group included my buddy Alan. He’s one of my most loyal blog followers and promoters and has been begging for a mention. So, here it is, my friend: a mention and a photo!