Marin Restaurant & Bar: Preview



Each time I’ve stepped out of the Orpheum lately, I’ve wondered what’s been going on at the former D’Amico Kitchen space in Le Méridien Chambers on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis. We knew it was to be another health-conscious restaurant by Craig Bentdahl, who also owns Mill Valley Kitchen in St. Louis Park, and its executive chef, Michael Rakun, but how they would transform the corner had yet to be seen…until last week. Opening to the public today, June 23, Marin Restaurant & Bar will give us healthy, California-inspired fare that is sourced locally (when possible) and organic (when possible). In addition to the food, the beverage are set to impress (always possible), with three bars and an extensive wine cellar for the discerning drinkers.

Mostly behind obscured windows, great renovation has taken place in what was formerly a bright white space. Now, it’s warm and distinguished, using smart floor plans to create three distinct restaurants in one, thanks to Shea, Inc.: a main level dining room and bar, an outdoor patio with bar, and a lower level level library and bar that also includes three private dining rooms and two chefs tables in the kitchen. Visually appealing, the design elements bring a substantial presence to the corner. It feels permanent, like it’s set roots.

Taking in the preview night, I can only speak to an army of very helpful and friendly staff and delicious small bites that were aimed to delight, and did so with aplomb. I look forward to getting to know Marin and its menu  better.

Here’s my short photo tour of this new Hennepin Avenue gem:


Warm, luxe surroundings in the main floor dining room.



A wall of wine only hints at the extensive collection housed in the lower level.


Ceviche, oysters three ways (four, if you count the chicken oysters on the skewer), flatbread pizzas, bison bites–our palates were delighted by Marin.


A dazzling pizza oven that only complements the decor of the main level open kitchen.


House-made rhubarb sorbet that was a dainty scoop with a dainty flavor. Also enjoyed was the strawberry sorbet…but apparently the Greek yogurt is something I’m to return to enjoy.


A shout out to “Aunt Beth,” my favorite Marin County writer from San Anselmo, California, Beth Ashley. You can buy your own copy of Marin here.


Dark surroundings in the lower level library area with a peek into one of the private dining rooms.


Our food editor, Joy, chose this as her chair. A lovely perch for sipping an updated Old Fashioned.


With lighting fixtures from the original restaurant in the space, brick and wine casks form the largest of the private dining rooms.


The lower level bar is backed by the only original wall in the space, grounding the new in the old.



Surrounded by leather and books, the smart food feels even more intelligent. And pretty. These fudge ganache babies were brilliant.


I couldn’t take just one picture of these tasty architectural devils.


What used to be Eden now is home to a Gin & Tonic Periodic Table, ready to create great chemistry for the imbibers.


The bar as a beacon.





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