Across the River Restaurant Reviews: Bryant-Lake Bowl

I have an internship in Minneapolis, but because I take the limited-stop bus No. 144, in my mind I never leave campus, leading the sort of comatose existence that continual work and academia will bring about. When Noah Koch, friend and fellow Mpls intern, proposed that I meet him after work at the Walker Art Center and then, you know, food-eating, I felt instantly invigorated! And so began a delightful evening: Noah staying late in the copy-room, practicing his vogueing skills as he printed 600 copies of something and I wandering the art exhibits, bashfully snapchatting pictures of myself next to Claes Oldenburg’s Soft Toilet (1966) and other more hunger-inducing artworks, like the massive cushion of Floor Burger (1962). And then we were off to eat!

But not before walking considerable distances in the cold, where mirages of bloody steaks formed a meaty halo around me and gave me reason to persevere. And not before a semi-lengthy interlude of shopping at The Corner Store in Uptown, where I bought my dream Wong Kar-wai-esque cheongsam dress and where Noah was cruelly denied his purchase of a Nike sweatpant suit (didn’t have price tags).

I was famished upon arrival at the hybrid beast that is the Bryant-Lake Bowl. A bar/restaurant/theater/bowling alley, it’s loud and feels chaotic, but once you look around you’ll see that it’s pretty yuppie-ish. Parties are popular, so raucous people in crazy hats will be there. The guy sitting next to us was apparently breaking up with his girlfriend, which I didn’t notice because it was loud and I was too distracted by his turtleneck and wimpy-looking scarf. Wearing my pompom hat and extremely square, admittedly kind of stupid-looking blue backpack, I felt like a child hoping to partake in adult life, but whatever, hand me your drink menu! Service was surprisingly attentive, considering how busy the place was. Our server never seemed to forget about us. The menu was kinda expensive (going during happy hour would be a good option next time), which I wasn’t exactly expecting because it seemed like a goofy dive bar. My drink, a pear and ginger cocktail, was $9, and my burger, which came with chips and a pickle was $10. I ordered a “Moonstone Burger,” but as I was looking at the “California Burger” I noticed that the cali burger came with lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayo for $1 extra, which I feel is standard fare for most burgers. Anyways, I was like, “eh, I’ll just get the Moonstone,” and when I got it, it was literally just a meat patty on a bun. Noah got a “Bad Breath Burger,” ($13) which had blue cheese, roasted garlic, caramelized onions, blackening seasoning, and mayo plus lettuce, tomato, etc. etc. So he generously shared his lettuce etc. with me. My Moonstone burger, though quite bare, had the most extraordinary meat patty. It was medium-rare and juicy and delicious. (Ugh.) The carrot cake for dessert was good, no complaints. I’m allergic to dairy but I ate the cream cheese frosting anyway. I get mad Asian Glow and my pear drink was strong (the ginger in it was really good!) and made the room spin ever so slightly. Then it was time for a sobering bus ride home. A good and fun place.