Look out, Linden Hills. A new hit restaurant could be headed your way.
This spring, Harriet Brasserie is slated to open in Cafe 28's former space in the Old Firehouse building in downtown Linden Hills. Billed as a "new American" restaurant by owners Fernando Silva and Alain Lenne, it will make another addition to Southwest Minneapolis' portfolio.
But Silva's and Lenne's two-word adjective practically begs the question: just what do they mean by "new American," anyway?
"It'll start out with a mix of classics," Silva told Patch. "We'll have some American staples, and while keeping that in mind we'll incorporate something else in the dish."
"We'll add something your (Brazilian) mom did and something my (French) mom did," Lenne added, describing what sounded a lot like the "international melting pot" vision of the USA.
While the menu isn't yet finalized—"Every day, I write (a menu tweak or addition) that makes me feel happier," Silva said with a smile—the pair outlined the basics of their vision, which Lenne called "straightforward." Breakfast, with a crepe bar built off of Lenne's experience at his small downtown eatery La Belle Crepe, lunch and dinner will be part of the plan. On top of that, look for a bar program designed by Brie Roland of Blackbird Cafe and pastries and desserts by Silva's wife, pastry chef Kalinka Mazurkevicz.
One tentative menu item Patch saw was an intriguing-sounding tofu, coconut, and tamarind dish that looked sure to please any vegetarian. Silva, though, said the dish and others like it are more about the fun and artistry of cooking, rather than adapding a dish to a particular label like "vegan."
"You know, growing up in Brazil, we never had enough money to buy meat," Silva said when Patch pointed out that tofu dish. "I learned a hundred ways to prepare vegetables, and then when I grew up, I learned that all those dishes were vegan!"
While much may change, Lenne and Silva confirmed that the menu will definitely feature a house twist on the traditional Brazilian Bauru sandwich of roast beef, cheese, tomato, and pickeled cucumber.
Still, Lenne and Silva tried to downplay speculation that they'll join Tilia among the ranks of area culinary hot spots.
"We want to fit into the neighborhood's daily routine," Silva told Patch. "We don't want to be the newest, the best. We don't want to take people's place."
However, Silva's track record around the Twin Cities—for example, he recently consulted on the menu for the critically-acclaimed Eat Street Social—hints that the Brasserie just might put another culinary feather in Linden Hills' cap.