Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Tiny Diner – Minneapolis, MN

My friend A-Wow got back from a trip to Scotland, so we decided to go have some dinner and check out some of the photos he took. We waffled about a place to eat, but he suggested we hit up Tiny Diner in the Powderhorn area. I had heard of it, but knew very little about it. This place is getting quite a name for itself, due to its farm-to-table/sustainable menu ingredients. They source a lot of their ingredients from local farms and animal farms to keep things very close to home. Obviously, not all items can be grown in a Minnesota garden year round, but they have a pretty substantial garden on-site and you actually eat in the garden if you are lucky enough to sit on the covered (with solar panels) patio. This also makes the Tiny Diner a little less tiny.

Each month (or at least every few weeks), the focus of the menu changes, so you won’t always be able to get the amazing dish you had last time you were there – just a warning. This month, the menu had a New Mexico theme. Throw in some chilies and some southwestern seasoning and you would be surprised the menu items you can come up with. We decided to get some chips and three salsas to split. Then we both ended up ordering the same thing, since they sounded so good – the NM rock shrimp tacos. Tiny Diner also has a pretty good craft beer selection, so be sure to check that out, as well.

The chips are hand cut thick and hand fried, which I love. Some blue corn chips and some yellow corn chips. Each salsa was completely different and delicious. Our favorite was the avocado crema, but the roasted salsa verde and the salsa chipotle were also fantastic.

The tacos were much better than I even imagined. They were doubled-up corn tortillas (some white and some blue) and filled with New Mexico dry-spice-rubbed rock shrimp, cabbage and radish slaw, avocado crema, salsa chipotle, and cilantro. Each of these flavors could be identified in each bite, which doesn’t always happen. There was plenty of shrimp in each taco, so you had some in every bite, and the avocado crema won the show, just like with the chips we had earlier. There are three tacos on your plate, so it’s a safe bet you aren’t going to go home hungry. The tacos are served with a small mixed green salad on the side, but once I had a bite of the tacos, I lost interest in the salad.

This place does take reservations, but if there’ a spot on the patio when you get there, they will make some adjustments and sit you outside – which I’d recommend. The staff are all super friendly and know the menu inside and out. They’ve also got a nice happy hour, so be sure to get there in time for that. Overall, one of the better garden-to-table meals I’ve had in a really long time.

Top 5 things about Tiny Diner
1. NM Rock Shrimp Tacos
2. Hand-made chips and salsas (especially the avocado crema)
3. Really unique slightly-themed menu items
4. Great craft beer list
5. Really fun space to dine in (great for a first date, pretending you care about the environment)

Bottom 5 things
1. It’s pretty small; some might say… tiny
2. The place fills up fast around dinner time, so either get a reservation or get comfortable
3. I’m guessing there may be a more limited menu in the winter months (not confirmed)
4. Some people have complained about the prices, but I honestly thought it was pretty affordable for the quality of food you get – people just like to complain
5. I personally wish there were more of the city-themed menu items, but a handful in each section of the menu is still alright. Especially since they ALL sounded fantastic.


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