After three years in business, Mona Restaurant & Bar chef/owner Lisa Hanson has resigned herself to the realities of her restaurant’s low-wattage address, deep within an office tower on downtown’s periphery.
With that in mind, Hanson has dropped her Saturday hours and replaced them with weekday breakfast. Smart move, since the neighborhood is a weekend ghost town and has a decided lack of business breakfast destinations. Hanson’s second wise decision can be encapsulated into a single word: bacon.
It’s produced on the premises (“You would, too, if you knew how easy it is to make, ” she once told me), and it’s spectacular.
Rather than the thin-and-crispy variety, this bacon arrives in long, slab-like strips, expertly grilled, cut thick and noticeably weighty, with glorious smoke and fat notes. A single piece could satisfy a marathoner’s hunger. Can anyone actually consume the pair that’s part of the standard serving?
The menu taps most a.m. basics. Steak and eggs is a flank steak, an omelet is filled on a changes-daily basis, and oatmeal is dolled up with honey, almonds and berries. An egg sandwich goes all-out, filling a croissant with a pair of fried eggs, a slab of ham, a bold Cheddar and a vibrant herb-packed bite.
There’s a limited selection of does-the-job breakfast pastries and bagels, baked elsewhere. Instead, test-drive the kitchen’s ability to handle pancake batter. They’re masters. It’s a tangy sourdough formula, and a single short stack will make anyone a believer.
Service is fleet and friendly, and the top price is a very manageable $13.
333 S. 7th St., Mpls., 612-259-8636, monarestaurant.com. Breakfast served 6:30 to 10 a.m. Mon.-Fri.
A hotel restaurant redo
Also downtown, and similarly slightly off the beaten path, lies Monello, the new Italian restaurant in Hotel Ivy.
Chef Mike DeCamp is serving breakfast daily — part of the restaurant’s status as a hotel amenity — and it’s lovely.
Like Mona, the menu is limited, maybe a half-dozen items. All are approached with a scrupulousness that comes naturally to DeCamp, given his long distinguished tenure at La Belle Vie.
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