Restaurant Review: Icehouse

Restaurant Review: Icehouse

Minneapolis’ premier sandwich makers premiere a stunning small plates restaurant.

The folks who brought fine-dining skills to the workaday sandwich are doing the same for your post-work rock-and-roll club. The result is Icehouse, a music club with a grown-up menu free of gimmicks and winks and full of great flavors.

Five years ago, the trio behind Be’wiched used their combined three decades of experience at white-tablecloth places like D’Amico and La Belle Vie to create the region’s best sandwich shop, Be’wiched. They labored over every detail, from bread to pickles to house-cured meat, with delicious results.

What Works

Gorgeous interior design and a menu calibrated for sharing and exploring.

What Doesn’t

Every once in a great while—bland empanadas, tough pasta—attention to details slips.

This summer, they’ve birthed Icehouse on Eat Street, joining Eat Street Social and the rumored reopening of Azia in the revival of Nicollet’s more scene-y scene. The interior is intricate and stunning, with industrial balconies, soaring walls of exposed brick, intimate nooks, and look-at-me lounges for those who prefer to be center stage.

The menu is (sigh) small plates. But wait! This is small plates done right: shareable portions with a little bit of “man, you have got to try this” in almost every bite. Take the salmon trio: two-forkful tastes of brined, hot-cured, and slow-poached salmon, with mini rye crackers and tiny slabs of anchovy. Or the empanadas: itsy-bitsy fried pies, a bit bland on their own, but served with a tangy tomato jam, a thick yogurt sauce, and spicy chimichurri. A bite for you, a bite for your dining companion, and instant dinner conversation as you debate whether the gravlax or the hot-cured salmon is best. (The hot-cured, clearly.) Even pasta is shareable: a full plate of the ultra-rich cannelloni with robiola (Italy’s answer to brie) would be a true appetite-killer, but a forkful as the dish goes around the table is perfect.

Very (very) occasionally, Icehouse’s reach exceeds its grasp. In the lobster fettuccini, for example, both the pasta and seafood fell on the tough side of chewy, and the preserved lemon flavor failed to fill up the dish.

Like Be’Wiched before it, Icehouse is proof that good food is all about the details—great flavor in every single bite. And if Be’wiched’s pastrami is enough to tempt you, good news: You can get it at lunch.

2528 Nicollet Ave. Minneapolis