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The big-splash restaurant of 2007, B.A.N.K. is something of a conundrum. On the one hand, it's physically the most gorgeous restaurant in Minnesota--the machine-age luxury of the former Farmers and Mechanics Bank is nothing short of heart-stopping and breathtaking: With its acres of teak and the period Diego Rivera-esque chunky glass and brass details, the space is truly more fitting for a Roman Cathedral than a Minnesota restaurant. Without question B.A.N.K. is a must-visit for any artist, architect, designer, or plain old tourist stopping through town. On the other hand, the food is distinctly Midwestern Hotel Safe and Lackluster--which might be fitting, in that the former bank is now a Westin Hotel, which is why they have a hotel at all. Back to the food, though: Order safe, and you'll generally be safe. The tomato soup (lunch only) is the best thing they make, followed by the Caesar salad, the burger, and the steak. The cocktails, however, are fantastic--they have a fresh blueberry mojito that tastes like summer in a glass, and the white-grapefruit Cosmo is a sweet and tart joy. So, should you go? Definitely, as long as you bring expectations adjusted for what the restaurant is capable of delivering, and opera glasses to allow you to study some of the room's glory and grandeur.
B.A.N.K., 88 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis, 612.656.3255, www.bankmpls.com When I first graduated from college I worked as a temp downtown, and like any sensible temp, made sure that all my errands were conducted at a most leisurely pace. So I would... More »
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