Edina-Area Grilled Dishes that Bridge Summer and Fall

Bid summer adieu as we coast into fall with hearty grilled fare
Good Earth serves up grilled shrimp and zucchini flatbread.

There’s a snap in the air and a spring in the step as the excitement of back-to-school, fall sports and autumn festivities arrives. Why not bid summer a fond farewell with a culinary salute to grilled foods? Food cooked over a fire is a fine tribute to the cookouts of summer and an enticing preview of heartier cool-weather fare to come. Luckily, our love of everything flame-cooked is season-proof, and local possibilities abound. We’ve rounded up some drool-inspiring options to help you coast into autumn, happily feted and fed.


Brick-pressed Rosemary Lemon Chicken

Mozza Mia
The heavenly-smelling smoke smell that emanates from Mozza Mia is enough to send you into a swoon, and perhaps even inspire you to build a wood-fired oven in your own backyard (hey, how hard could it really be?). We fell in love with their signature wood-grilled brick chicken: local Kadejan Farm free-range chicken that’s halved and anointed with the holy trinity of rosemary, garlic and lemon. Smooshed flat within a cast-iron skillet, the restaurant’s formidable wood-fired oven transforms the humble bird into a crispy-skinned, succulent-fleshed, highly seasoned thing of wonder and delight. A bed of potatoes and escarole captures the precious juices to delicious effect. The menu dubs it “maybe the best chicken ever,” and we are inclined to agree. $17. 3910 W. 50th St.; 952.288.2882


Peoples Organic Cafe

Bison is popping up on more and more menus these days, which is a cause for rejoicing. Flavorful and lean (leaner than chicken!), bison delivers everything that we love about beef: robust meatiness, satisfying chew. The fine example at Peoples Organic Café—proudly local, organic, fair trade and farm-to-table—is made from Eichten’s bison, hand-pattied and grilled to order, then draped with sharp local cheddar cheese and strips of nitrate-free bacon. The usual cold tomato slab is replaced here with silky, rich, roasted tomatoes; organic romaine lettuce, garlicky aioli and tart pickles conspire to create the perfect mouthful. A rustic sprouted 16-grain bun does a fine job soaking up all the juicy loveliness. Total burger satisfaction with none of the burger guilt. $14. 3545 Galleria; 952.426.1856 


Pittsburgh Blue

Perhaps you’ve noticed a recent trend towards unusual cuts of beef, often called “butcher’s cuts” because the butcher knows to set them aside for personal use. We love these butcher’s cuts because they are both less expensive and more flavorful. An excellent example is the coveted flatiron steak, which comes from the shoulder of the beast. On a recent visit, Pittsburgh Blue’s grilled flatiron was expertly grilled to our specification—medium rare—and sliced into two-inch fat, rosy slabs. Smoky, chewy and juicy, it was slathered in an herb shallot butter sauce reminiscent of a Latin chimichurri condiment—just the thing to stand up to such intense beef flavor and hearty texture. $22.95. 3220 W. 70th St.; 952.567.2700



Good Earth

Our national passion for grilling has reached the outer edges of experimentation and ventured into the realm of bread, pizza, desserts and even salads. We’ve never dared try it at home, so were grateful that Good Earth braved the new frontier with their grilled shrimp and zucchini flatbread. The results of this innovative combination are delicious: an effortlessly cracker-thin crust blistered just so, plenty of herb-flecked shrimp, tender zucchini ribbons, toasted pine nuts, soft mounds of feta and an unexpected pop of fresh mint. It’s a lovely light meal for one or a fun appetizer to share with a group—not to mention an ideal mid-shopping fortification. $10.95. 3460 Galleria; 952.925.1001

Edina Grill

The grilled meatloaf at Edina Grill is a perfect hybrid of fall comfort food and summer cooking techniques. Each loaf is lovingly formed by hand from a mixture of high-quality Angus beef, wilted spinach, tomato and garlic. Slabs are individually cut and grilled to order using a 45-degree rotation for a pretty diamond pattern, and served in two thick 4-ounce squares. A big scoop of creamy asiago mashed potatoes and crisp green beans sautéed in garlic butter ride shotgun. Cozily traditional with a titillating dash of smoke and spice. $14. 5028 France Ave. S.; 952.927.7933



Vegetarians and health nuts need not be excluded from the world of flame-cooked fare. Head to Crave for a veritable cornucopia of grilled vegetables that will make anyone forget the very existence of meat. Thick slices of grilled Portobello mushrooms are about as beefy as it gets, replete with charred edges for a bit of crunch. A skewer of zucchini, summer squash, onion and red bell pepper contribute a rainbow of color and flavors. The hands-down star of the ensemble? A bundle of thin-stalked, fired-to-a-crisp asparagus. The supporting cast includes a fragrant, healthy bed of brown basmati rice and a ramekin of a saucy balsamic dip that tastes of cumin, lemon and mustard. $16.95. 3520 W. 70th St.; 952.697.6000

Crave serves delicious, thick slices of Portobello mushrooms.

Salut Bar Américain

The fish selection at Salut is apt to change depending on the season, but there is one constant: a beautifully simple preparation that lets the quality and freshness of the ingredients shine. Each filet is brushed with olive oil and lemon and grilled until just cooked. You may opt for a side of the sauce gribiche—sort of a French version of tartar sauce, made from hard-boiled egg yolks, mustard, chopped pickles, capers and parsley. We loved the Scottish salmon, which is a shoo-in for the grill, since its fat content guarantees moist results (plus a hefty dose of heart-healthy omega-3s). The canny chefs at Salut know that good fresh fish demands respectfully minimal treatment, so you’d do well to snap up any seasonal special featured on the menu. $23.95. 5034 France Ave. S.; 952.929.3764


Cocina del Barrio
Did you ever wonder how we came up with the word “barbecue?” Now you can impress your friends at your next cookout, because you’ll know that it comes from the Spanish word “barbacoa.” And you’ll love the Iowa lamb rack barbacoa at Cocina del Barrio, “the kitchen of the neighborhood.” Wood-fire grilled lamb is traditionally reserved for special occasions, but we’ll seize any excuse to celebrate cooking with fire. The rack includes several rich, meaty ribs accompanied by an intensely spiced lamb chorizo sausage, Peruvian heritage beans, grilled tomato and sweet-sour tamarind fruit. As an object lesson in the diversity and complexity of Latin cuisine, you’ll want to gnaw each bone clean as you marvel over the array of spices. Get emboldened by a snort of one of the specialty tequilas on the massive list. $26; 5036 France Ave. S.; 952.920.1860

Eden Avenue Grill

This homey neighborhood eatery offers classic crowd-pleasers, away from the lively bustle of 50th and France. The grilled maple pork chops were a no-brainer for us: pork likes sweet accents, and we love maple syrup. The two gorgeous 6-ouncers are steeped in a not-too-sweet maple marinade, which caramelizes beautifully over the flame. The resulting chops are sweet and smoky, crisp-edged and tender, earthy and tangy: in short, irresistible. This dish is ample enough for two, though you may be loath to share a single bite once you dig in. $16.50. 5101 Arcadia Ave.; 952.925.5628