restaurant: sanctuary

Restaurant Week in Minneapolis is always an exciting time. How many restaurants can you fit in the one week time span? How do you choose? What will you order?

The first restaurant we visited was Sanctuary Restaurant. I must admit that it was a tweet regarding grits with brie that sold me on it, we weren’t even planning on going out at all. Selling the taster on the idea was easy and consisted of three words: I’ll buy dinner.  A quick change of clothes, walk through the neighborhood and we were there.

Meals at Sanctuary start with edamame hummus, ciabatta bread and cayenne & cinnamon candied almonds. We loved the edamame hummus – it was flavorful and garlicky with a much runnier consistency (in a good way) than I am used to with hummus, not to mention delicious on some fresh, chewy ciabatta. Along with some white wine on a hot day, the patio was fragrant with the fresh herbs amongst the flowers and a sweating taster. “But the pictures! Natural light!” I pleaded on the sweltering night. We had to sit outside.

The first course in the tasting menu was a tequila-cured tuna and salmon tartare with wasabi sauce and potato crisps. Spicy, flavorful and crunchy.

Brie and ham grilled cheese with a red wine reduction and pinot grapes. Simple and delicious. Chef Patrick Atanalian’s menu is one that can seem complex at times so this sounded pretty basic, but in a basic way I knew I would love. It did leave us longing for some more of the wine reduction, we could have used a bit more. But brie, ham and bread is always perfect in my book.

The braised and grilled ribs with red wine barbeque sauce had strong scents of cinnamon and cloves and the meat was so wonderfully tender that it literally fell off the bone. I realized that I do prefer my meat a bit more on the savory side. The peach chutney was an interesting companion but unfortunately all the flavors made it tricky to really taste those beloved brie grits! Have no fear though, grits with brie are in my very near future.

The yellow and red tomato salad had juicy, perfectly ripe tomatoes along with salty smoked mozzerella, vidalia onions and a viniagrette. Tomato season is here, it’s official!

The obligatory hydro bibb salad, basically a way to get some vegetables in. It wasn’t anything fancy, but just what I was after – lettuce with a simple dressing.  One of the joys of dining with a Nutritionist I would think?

I think this was the first time both the taster and I had ever tried panacotta. We really aren’t big dessert people when we go out (I always choose appetizers over desserts) but this fruit of cocoa panacotta with fresh berries impressed us both. It was a cool and not too-heavy way to end a perfect night out.

*Just to clarify the brie & ham sandwich, tomato salad and bibb salad were ordered off the regular menu, not the tasting menu.


  1. Naomi says

    Fab photos; excellent writing. You’re definitely a major #FF! I tried to find the grits bag & couldn’t (chef hiding a secret?!?) Your answer is still on my list for when I get to the restaurant tonight! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  2. says

    Blogger/Minneapolitan fail: I did not know it was restaurant week…is it over? Do I still have time?? Sanctuary is really near where I live. And I kind of want some edamame hummus…

  3. says

    Brie with grits? Now that is a twist on southern cuisine. That sounds great! All of it looks great. I’d not tried panacotta desserts until we moved to Brazil and now I love them I especially like the flavors of this one.

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