The Late Show: A Week of Midnight Meals in Minneapolis

We’re caramelizing the onions now…Start your day with a Farmer’s Breakfast.

Posted by The Lowry on Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sunday – 11:30pm

The Lowry • kitchen until 1am daily

A long day; a Grand Old Day—a day of beer and bands and mild sunstroke. We float under the cover of darkness, our skin still radiating pink but soothed by the evening chill, to The Lowry in Uptown.

Even nearing midnight on a Sunday, the Lowry is bustling. There isn’t a spare seat at the bar, so we slide into a booth and watch a pair of solitary smokers light up on either side of the entrance to Liquor Lyle’s across the street. We need water—tall, icy water—and tempura green beans with plum sauce. And a whiskey sour with a float of red wine. And water. Just leave the pitcher on the table.

This is the comfortable stereotype of late-night dining. Were The Lowry not in Uptown, this is where a trucker would want to park his rig and tuck into a stack of pancakes before starting a long overnight haul. Some of those classic diners still exist in the Twin Cities, but they’re anachronisms. That aesthetic—dining for fuel alone—wasn’t popular enough to have taken root here. What has taken hold instead is dining as a scene.

But these green beans are great, and we’re going to need some carnitas tacos to go with them. It’s not a farmer’s breakfast, but it’s fuel just the same.

Tuesday – 10:30pm

Masu Sushi & Robata • kitchen until midnight Mon–Sat, 11pm Sun

Another warm night in the City of Lakes begs a quick jaunt to Northeast for cold sake. Why is it that even cheap sake tastes so good? Perhaps it’s an associative memory; maybe we don’t really know what sake tastes like. Maybe we’re just recalling the taste of pork-belly steamed buns and salty edamame and gooey bacon-wrapped quail eggs.

So, before we devour the late-night bites at Masu Sushi & Robata, we drink sake. It’s $3, crisp, and a little grainy. We pour it in a tall stream from its holder to a shot glass, contemplating the ritual like it’s a chanoyu tea ceremony. Why? Because we’ve already had a few at Nye’s and The Bulldog, and it just seems like the thing to do.

The formula at Masu is one part traditional Japanese, one part pan-Asian street food, and 10 parts whimsy. Pachinko machines glow in the corner, sours come garnished with gummi bears. Whereas Nighingale is soirée snacking, this is party snacking. We relish a plate of Japanese pickles and throw in some nigiri on the cheap. A bowl of pork-belly ramen wafts by—if only we’d saved room.

Some members of an adult kickball league are here celebrating a win, and for some reason, that doesn’t seem objectively strange—not when a 20-foot set of geisha eyes stare down at you from the wall and old monster movies loop behind the bar. No, we’ll just go with it. We’ll drink our sake and lick our robata skewers clean and then go, satiated, back into the night.

Other Late Night Favorites (And Menu Recommendations)

112 Eatery: Lamb sugo, tartare
(midnight Mon–Thu, 1am Fri–Sat, 10pm Sun)

Barbette: Chicken liver pate, mussels and fries
(midnight Sun–Thu, 12:30 Fri–Sat)

Bar La Grassa: Half order gnocchi, charcuterie
(midnight Mon–Thu, 1am Fri–Sat, 10pm Sun)

Blue Door Pub: Spam bites, green beans
(St. Paul: 1am daily; Minneapolis: 11pm Sun–Thu, midnight Fri–Sat)

Eli’s East: Sliders
(1am daily)

Hard Times Café: Chili dogs
(4am daily)

Haute Dish: Wings, sweetbreads
(10pm Sun–Thu, midnight Fri–Sat)

Lyn 65: Banh mi
(midnight Mon–Thu, 1am Fri–Sat, 11pm Sun)

Mickey’s Diner: Cakes and Eggs
(open 24-7)

Pizza Luce: Veggie slice
(hours vary by location)

The Uptowner Café in St. Paul: Anything with hashbrowns
(3:30am Thu–Sat)

Tracy’s Saloon: House curry
(midnight Mon–Thu, 1am Fri–Sat, 11pm Sun)

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John Garland About John Garland

John Garland is the Deputy Editor at the Growler Magazine. Find him on twitter (@johnpgarland) or in every coffee shop on West 7th Street.

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