A phoenix has risen from the ashes of the much-beloved Modern Cafe. A casual comfort-food phoenix with a neighborhood sensibility perfectly suited for its classic Northeast Minneapolis location. Lucky for us, this new bird also boasts the faint aroma of beer can chicken. More on that in a bit.
Newly christened, The Sheridan Room comes courtesy of father/son duo Jon and Jarret Oulman, along with Joshua Mandelman. The trio is responsible for other tasty hits, including the 331 Club, The Amsterdam Bar and Hall, and Como Dockside.
Their latest effort is exactly the kind of place you want to head after a long day at the office. Or a long night of partying. Or really just whenever you need a food hug, as they’re now open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch. A couple friends and I grabbed a post-office bite a couple weeks back to experience this postmodern fare firsthand.
The menu at The Sheridan Room is as straightforward and no-nonsense as the food itself. There are entrée sandwiches to choose, salads to devour, snacks to start, or you can go with a package deal: pick a protein, add two sides and a sauce. It’s that easy. And provides endless combo opportunities. The proteins are plenty, depending upon your mood, but you’ll do yourself a disservice if someone at your table doesn’t order the beer can chicken with Wonderstuff gravy. The bird is moist and tender with tons of flavor, but not (like many beerburdened dishes) bitterly overhoppy. And I don’t know what magic Wonderstuff is, but you’ll be dipping everything in it in short order.
As for the sides, just know narrowing it down to two is a fool’s errand. Hopefully for your sake, you’ve brought a couple fools with you. That way you get two sides. They get two sides. Everyone shares. Crisis averted. My personal favorites include the brussels sprouts, chilled beets and, of course, the mac ‘n’ cheese. The brussels sprouts are crisp and caramelized. The chilled beets are laced with dill and dolloped with crème fraîche. The mac ‘n’ cheese is a religious experience and one that should be celebrated regularly without any and all guilt or shame.
If you’re in a sammy kind of mood, I can’t recommend the reuben highly enough. And I promise you, that’s saying something. So many times I’ve ordered a reuben only to come up short. The meat is meh or the sauce scarce. This reuben is unreal. The house-made corned beef and kraut, gruyere, Russian dressing, and rye bread all combine to form a perfect balance any honest reuben lover longs for. Add the fresh cut fries and you’ll plotz.
The craft cocktails are perfectly poised to compliment any meal or mood, so don’t be afraid to challenge your server to suggest something. And if you’re not feeling a full sit-down, grab a drink and order up a big fat, warm soft pretzel with beer cheese sauce. A little nip and nosh never hurt nobody.
After eating our way yet again across the menu, I can honestly say The Sheridan Room is well-poised to settle in and become a Northeast staple. And by “settle in,” I mean surprise and delight. Every neighborhood should have a Sheridan Room. Until they do, however, I will gladly traipse across town for a bowl of their mac ‘n’ cheese. And I hope you will, too.
The Sheridan Room
337 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis