I lived just blocks away from Rinata in Uptown for over three years, and I never went. Until now. Right before I decamped to the ‘burbs. I’m glad I did! Tucked away in a nondescript row of stores on Hennepin Ave, it’s a cozy little Italian spot perfect for any type of romantic evening. Most of the food we ordered was good, if not great. However, the gnocchi — ah that was a spicy a-meatball! Light and soft pasta pillows, in a cream sauce, mixed with poached lobster and topped with some fresh thyme? Mmm! I’m drooling just listening to Alexa read that back. I always hesitate to order gnocchi, because I’ve had bad gnocchi. (But now that I think about it, when? Wait, I can’t remember having bad gnocchi. Why am I not always ordering gnocchi?!)
Rinata’s is the opposite of bad, whatever that’s called. It has big, rich flavors — the thyme does some heavy lifting cutting through the cream, helping both the delicate flavor of the lobster shine and the soft texture of the gnocchi really pop. With so much richness it might be best shared, like we did. But I also ate probably two thirds of it and mentally played through multiple diabolical schemes for not sharing that final third, so don’t listen to me. The best gnocchi in this town are the cauliflower and orange creation at Isaac Becker’s Bar La Grassa, the fried gnocchi at Isaac Becker’s 112 Eatery, and the one at the guy who used to work for Isaac Becker’s Martina. Rinata, remarkably without any help from Isaac Becker, slides very comfortably into that list. I’m just sad that I’ll never be back in Uptown — now that I’ve embraced that #suburbs life.