Mpls Chef of 112, La Grassa Nabs James Beard Award

Isaac Becker of 112 Eatery and Bar La Grassa was named the best chef in the Midwest by the James Beard Foundation; in other local culinary news, Manny's was named among the nation's top "power lunch" spots by Zagat.

A local chef has received a top award in what is considered by many to be the Oscars of the restaurant industry.

Isaac Becker, of 112 Eatery and Bar La Grassa in Minneapolis, was named the best chef in the Midwest by the James Beard Foundation. Becker received the award at a Monday gala in New York.

Becker is the executive chef and co-owner of 112 Eatery, a cozy downtown hotspot that opened in 2005. He's also the executive chef at Bar La Grassa, a relatively new establishment in the North Loop neighborhood of downtown Minneapolis that has consistently received rave reviews.

At the James Beard awards, Becker wasn't the only Twin Cities representative in the “Best Chef: Midwest” category-which includes culinary stars from Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Wisconsin. Lenny Russo of St. Paul's Heartland was also nominated for the prestigious award.

And Minnesota has established a tradition of taking home the award: Alex Roberts of Restaurant Alma won last year, and Tim McKee of La Belle Vie took the prize in 2009.

Bar La Grassa and the 112 Eatery aren't the only local eateries attracting a national spotlight. Guidebook publisher Zagat selected the best restaurants for “power lunches” in 19 of the nation's major metro areas-and local favorite Manny's Steakhouse was named the top spot in Minneapolis.

“The aura of power and testosterone suffuses this energetic meat emporium where big eaters pay big prices for huge steaks and megasize sides,” Zagat reviewers wrote, adding that the food is “scrumptious” and the staff is “knowledgeable and friendly.”

Check out the entire list as published by USA Today here.

112 Eatery, Bar La Grassa, and Manny's were all recognized on Zagat's 2011 guide to “America's Top Restaurants.”