Right on Cue

The Guthrie's new star

A flair for the dramatic isn’t limited to the architecture and stage productions at the new Guthrie Theater. It’s also apparent in the dining venues: a pair of headlining restaurants–Cue and the Level Five Café—and a supporting ensemble of some dozen bars and special-event lounges, one featuring a seafood raw bar.


But clearly, the star is Cue (612-225-6499, 806 South Second Street, Minneapolis, www.cueatguthrie.com), a restaurant that centers on a 19-seat “thrust-stage” exhibition kitchen. The bill of fare changes based on what’s fresh locally and seasonally. Menu selections have included a sandwich of roast Wisconsin elk on caraway rye bread, curried cream soup with garlic-scented spinach and Marcona almonds, wild boar country pâté, grass-fed Minnesota beef tenderloin filet with foie gras butter, and pan-roasted Wild Acres Farm free-range poussin.

Executive Chef Lenny Russo, still owner of Heartland restaurant in St. Paul and a veteran of the kitchens at W. A. Frost and the Loring Café, directs all of the Guthrie’s dining enterprises. It wasn’t by chance that Bon Appétit, the Guthrie’s concessionaire, selected him. A premier national company that manages the in-house food operations of clients including Target and Best Buy, Bon Appétit has a sustainable agriculture philosophy that closely mirrors Russo’s.

Couple Russo’s menus with a wine list that’s almost certain to receive Wine Spectator honors, some of the best servers around, and the convenience of showtime just up the four-story escalator, and you’ve got a production in Cue that could be in for a very long run.