Monday, January 18, 2016

Brasserie Zentral: An Homage, and A Warning

Sometimes being the best isn't enough. 

Which is really a shame, particularly in the case of Brasserie Zentral, one of the most unique restaurants in Minneapolis. Or at least it was.

Brasserie closed last weekend thanks to poor turnout and an extraordinarily competitive dining market (both for customers and employees), despite having a grade A kitchen and management, and having won just about every local foodie award imaginable.

Restaurants close all the time, but Brasserie is the sign that we have long passed the critical mass level of restaurant satiation in the Twin Cities market. La Belle Vie's closing was the canary in the coal mine; in the few short months since LBV's lights went dark, an astonishing (and growing) list of incredible restaurants are closing around town, many of them long-time stalwarts. Vincent's, Masa, Brasserie, and more have all shuttered.

What this amounts to is a plea from me to you: please use your discretionary funds to support amazing, unique restaurants when you do choose to eat out. I get it, eating out can be expensive. We all have to be careful with our budgets. But that makes what you spend your hard earned dollars on even more important. Don't waste your paycheck, that one filled with blood/sweat/tears, on a shitty meal. You deserve more than that.

Don't go to Applebee's. Don't rely solely on burgers and bad french fries to get by. Making truly unique, delicious, beautiful food is an art, and we are so incredibly blessed in the Twin Cities to have an incredible food scene. Having a last meal at Brasserie's amazing kitchen view counter was an emotional experience. The intense, dramatic ballet of a truly wonderful restaurant kitchen is drama at its finest, and I'm deeply saddened that opportunity no longer exists.

I'd hate to see more of our unique, incredible restaurants turn off their ovens because they simply can't find customers. There is more than enough restaurant love to go around. It behooves you to share the wealth and frequent more than one or two places every time you eat out; please do so. And if you need help finding one, let me know. Our embarrassment of restaurant riches should not go undiscovered.