It’s been a few weeks now, but when I heard that Daniel del Prado’s newest bar and restaurant in the old Bachelor Farmer/Marvel Bar building was taking reservations, I lucked out with a 5:30 spot on Saturday, August 26, 2023. Just like our old favorites, we planned to hit Flora Room downstairs right when they opened at 5:00, then head upstairs to Porzana for dinner.
Parking in the North Loop is now worse than ever, so we were initially excited by the open meter spot in front of the restaurant (on 2nd Avenue North). But just like at Alma, the City of Minneapolis allows restaurants to convert these spots during certain hours to “valet only” and the app wouldn’t let us park there. The “helpful” valet also ran over to our car to inform us we couldn’t park there. I dropped off Colleen and declined to pay their valet charge on general principal. If you are willing to walk a few blocks, there is a nice little cheap lot along the river next to the North Loop Playground (N 4th Ave & W River Parkway).
Getting in the bar is the same as before and to be honest, I didn’t think the room looked all that different from Marvel Bar (Colleen had a different opinion). I asked the bartender what their most popular “original” drink was and he directed me to the Alsace ($16 – egg white, riesling, peruvian agave, lemon, lychee, grapeseed oil, orange and rose blossom). It was a great pick, one that I liked a lot more than the drink I had upstairs (the name of which escapes me now). With the long walk from parking, I basically needed to drink and run up the stairs to get to dinner on time (escorted by former Marvel Bar staffer Keith Mrotek).
The upstairs layout is all different now. The side entrance on 2nd Avenue is locked, with the main entrance on the corner of 2nd Avenue and First Street (where the old cafe was located). The old main level bar is still there, but it’s now basically all one giant dining room now (plus a large outside patio). I would’ve preferred to be in the back area near the kitchen, but we were seated in the front area, which had very close, very loud tables.
The good part of being up front was watching the crowd flow in all evening. Bill Summerville was working the front of house and it was really nice chatting with him again. Former Four Seasons coworker Paul Hennessy is now the Porzana General Manager and it was great to talk to him as well (he also previously worked at TBF).
Colleen and I ordered the bread basket ($6 – apple cider vinegar butter, brown butter) and glazed carrots ($14 – ricotta, honey, crispy shallots, thai basil), then waited. And waited. And waited. Turns out one of the larger, louder tables got our order and just ate it. One of the managers noticed, came over to apologize and said those items would be taken off our bill. They fired replacements and also brought over an order of complementary empanadas ($14 – pork, llajua verde).
For the main dishes, Colleen ordered the Chilean sea bass ($36 – early butternut squash, brown butter, sage) and I went to the “LIMITED” section of the steak menu and picked the 14 oz gorgonzola striploin ($65) with a side of tallow fries ($14 – ketchup, kewpie). We both loved our dishes and I need to go back with SK to continue exploring the very large steak selection (reminiscent of Burch – RIP). Skipped dessert on this visit, as we had been at that table a very long time by that point.
When our check arrived, there were no adjustments, so we needed to wait longer for that too. For a busy, high profile new restaurant that had only been open less than a week, some slack needs to be cut, no? I like all the people behind it a lot, so I’m sure “Chef Danny” and the team will get the kinks worked out. I’d like to go back again soon…