It’s tough justifying a big night on the town these days, with the Big R looming over every paycheck, or lack thereof. Yet your sweetie has declared a moratorium on sit-com reruns with a side of popcorn. Well, restaurants are
hurting, too, and to woo your business in these down times, several are offering deep discounts on their regular tabs.
Mondays are Cheap Date Night at Bryant Lake Bowl, where the deal goes like this: a game of bowling, bottle of wine and two entrees for $28. Limber up your swing by forking in the evening’s special, segueing eclectically from broccoli-blue cheese linguine to meat-and-veg kebabs to bangers and mash. The crowd here is just as eclectic, but there’s no surcharge for primo people-watching. (Note: BLB’s baby bro, Red Stag Supperclub, does the same thing on Tuesdays for $32.) 810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis, 612-825-3737.
Seven-thirty and the queue’s already out the door. That’s because it’s almost time
for After Eight at Broder’s Pasta Bar, which draws devotees Sundays through Thursdays with its own sweet deal. Here $28 buys dinner for two plus a half-carafe of vino. First, a bowl of elite olives comes your way, followed
by the kitchen’s dangerously addictive focaccia. Next, your amiable server sets down two salads, decorated with tasty baubles such as walnuts and blue cheese. Then choose two pastas from a list that careens from nice (a polite Margherita) to naughty (as in the pepper-fired Puttanesca). Belly up to the counter for the Minneapolis version of Mario in action, or choose a two-top if romancing’s the aim. 5000 Penn Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-925-9202.
Why settle for the sleaze of Block E when you can rise—literally—above it to dine at Cosmos? The catch is, you have to arrive weekdays before 7 p.m., when $35 snags you a three-course feast for the cost of a single entrée as the clock ticks on. First comes a starter, such as tuna tartare or diver scallops, followed by choice of entrée that may include halibut with cauliflower risotto; New York strip and blue-cheese potato gratin; or stuffed chicken breast in pear-ginger sauce. Three stars desserts include chocolate gateau and crème brulee. Trade up from the Levi’s to blend into
this quietly classy room. Graves Hotel, 605 First Ave. N., Minneapolis, 612-312-1168.
Well, you already know that Nick and Eddie’s is the place to See and Be Seen, but recently it’s been amended with “and to Spend,” at least in the bar. Choose a table that nails a view of Loring Park to savor the nightly special: roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, lamb stew atop polenta, or whatever the toques have cooked up. The price? A mere—gasp!—$8. Note to big spenders: $10 will get you the smorgasbord plate (think Swedish meatballs, pirogi, salmon-topped blini, latkes loaded with whitefish salad), generous enough to share over a Martini. 1612 Harmon Place, Minneapolis, 612-486-5800.
Affluent foodies head to Levain for that special birthday dinner. But their thriftier neighbors pop in on a Sunday, when a three-course menu sells for $20 for the vegetarian version and $25 for carnivores. That buys you, say, the parsnip-pear potage, a Bibb lettuce salad, and daily entrée-recently, braised beef short ribs with caramelized Brussels sprouts and butternut squash in apple gastrique, while across the table the devout vegetarian digs into a pearl barley risotto attended by the same robust veggies. 4762 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-823-7111.