***Click Here for New Review on Loring Pasta Bar written 2/28/10***
Cuisine: Italian with Asian influence, Pasta
Restaurant Features: Bar, Live-Music
Location: Minneapolis (Dinkytown)
Address: 327 14th Av. SE. Minneapolis, MN 55414 612.378.4849
Atmosphere: Breath-taking and romantic! Located inside a beautifully renovated building in Dinkytown (formerly known as Gray’s Drug Store) , the Loring Pasta Bar is an amazing site to see. Ceilings are 2-3 stories high, with an upper-eating area overlooking the court-yard style main dining room. Large trees and beautiful plants line the perimeter (glass windows are often opened or removed during summer months to really give you the feeling of eating outdoors.)
Soft candles and Live Jazz music really add to the romantic feeling of the Loring Pasta Bar during dinner hours. Restaurant/Nightclub? Late night DJ’s have the place grooving throughout the week for local U of M students (and others!) to enjoy.
Menu: Appetizers include the infamous Artichoke Ramekin as well as Beef Skewers, Calamari, Shrimp and Spicy Tuna Sushi Roll. Pasta dishes include Fettuccine Carbonara, Goat Cheese Tortellini, Spaghetti, Portabello Ravioli, and Vegetarian Orzo. Small selection of entrees include Grilled Salmon, Beef Tenderloin, New York Strip, Seared Raw Tuna, and Stir Fry
Price guide: Appetizers- $5-9, Pasta- $10-13, Entrees- $17-23
What I ordered: We were given a giant basket of bread while we looked over the menu, but also decided to order the Artichoke Ramekin (Came highly recommended)….Creamy, cheesy with big chunks of artichokes and a spicy kick. Delicious!
I had a very difficult time deciding what to order off the menu, but finally decided to go with the Roasted Chicken and Mozzarella Ravioli. I was given exactly seven raviolis, each stuffed with a bite-sized amount of strong-tasting Italian cheese. The menu claimed it was mozzarella, but tasted very strongly like goat cheese to me. Rather than incorporating the roasted chicken inside the pasta, the roasted chicken was mixed into the tomato and garlic mixture and placed atop the ravioli. The dish was good, but nothing I’d be dying to go back for anytime soon.
My companions had better luck than I when it came to selecting from the menu. This seared-raw tuna atop fresh spinach leaves and drizzled with a sesame-soy-ginger sauce was excellent, reminiscent of the Japanese dish, Tuna Tataki. Very much Japanese-influenced.
Other companions ordered the Crusted Salmon and the Portabello Ravioli (topped with corn mixture).
The desserts at Loring Pasta Bar were awesome. Pictures on the left is the flourless chocolate cake. This dessert was like no cake I have ever tried in my life, instead it was very creamy. Reminded me of the filling to a truffle or a really thick & creamy, rich mousse. The dessert pictured on the right is the cheesecake with chocolate and cherries ala mode. My companions and I were not expecting the cheesecake to be chocolate flavored, or we would have ordered a completely different dessert. It was very good, but too much like the chocolate cake.
Service: The Loring Pasta Bar is always packed on the weekend, a reservation for any size party is a very good idea.
Overall Impression: Very swank! I think “Pasta Bar” is a little bit misleading, as the Loring Pasta Bar is not your classic Italian restaurant, but the food is good and the prices are decent. Definitely a cool place to take out-of-town guests, as it is very unique!