There must be some sort of magic created by adding a two digit number to the end of your restaurant name. Rincón 38 provided the whole inspiration for FDC, and our trip to Victory 44 gave us a great meal as well (and bread!). As the numbers increased and definitely had nothing to do with what street the restaurant was located on, the meals became more epic. This meant we were in store for great things at Lyn 65, because math.
When we arrived, we were informed by the host (who I promised to say is awesome) that due to a scheduling mix-up, we would be seated at a bigger table that also happened to be right by the kitchen. We didn’t argue. He also asked if we were “the bloggers,” which totally stoked our egos whether he meant to or not. It got even better shortly after, when the bartender brought over complimentary Prosecco and a strange man in an undershirt and blue stocking cap came over and set a framed picture of Hulk Hogan at one of our empty chairs (Yep.). Our waitress, Stacy, then arrived and walked us through the drink menu, describing the overall theme of the drinks to be “boozy” (they were). Based on this string of events alone, we were all raving about how much we loved Lyn 65, and this was with the realization we hadn’t eaten or drank anything yet.
We ordered the duck sausage pizza as an appetizer while we planned out the rest of the meal. The pizza was delivered by the strange man in the blue stocking cap, aka Ben Rients, the owner and head chef of Lyn 65. We stopped and chatted with Ben for a minute or so, and he said he would be back soon with some soup for us to try. We also asked what the story was with Hulk Hogan, to which he replied “We just had it laying around.” He then preceded to tell us there was also a framed picture of Tom Selleck in the restaurant, and let us know that he spent the months leading up to the opening of Lyn 65 watching all the episodes of Magnum P.I.
The pizza itself was tasty. Duck sausage is a little fattier than pork sausage in the best kind of way, and the crust was about as perfect as it gets. As we ate the pizza, we all took note of the comfortable atmosphere of the restaurant. There was something about all those stocking cap wearing cooks in the kitchen that really made me feel at home (I don’t know why I am so hung up on that). Ben soon came back with some celery root, bacon, and walnut soup. Our second freebie of the night was a good mix of salty and savory, with a pleasant crunch from the walnuts. This time we asked Ben why an item we saw in the online menu, “Mussels from Brussels”, was omitted from the menu that night. We couldn’t quite understand how something with the description “Jean-Claude Van Damme inspired” could get left out. He explained that it was actually Day 1 of a new menu and Mussels from Brussels didn’t make the cut because people are “so uninformed,” presumably about the exploits of Jean Claude Van Damme.
Soon after, the entrees started to arrive. First was the kale and pork belly crepe. Turns out mashing together a couple of the trendy food ingredients is a solid idea. Next came squash pasta (brown butter sauce = om nom) and fried chicken (awesome crisp, delicious slaw). Another benefit of being there as the menu changed over was that we were able to snag the short ribs that would be phased out over the next few days. So tender. So juicy. So would eat again. While we were eating all of this, the never-even-on-the-menu Mussels from Brussels arrived, compliments of the chef. The broth was made with chiles and brussels sprout leaves, and [insert some metaphor about Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits to explain how good this was here]. And they brought extra bread!
Finally, as we were wrapping up Ben popped over with another surprise – a New York strip steak. This was honestly one of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten. Perfect medium rare with a thick crust on both sides? Wizardry the likes of which I’ve never seen. Whatever sauce came with it pulled the whole thing together pretty spectacularly. I saw “mole hollandaise” on the menu; if that’s what that was, I like. Chris put it best: “I lead a pretty good life, eating this steak and…that’s it.” With this last show of generosity, we realized Ben may be FDC’s biggest fan, and we quickly became his.
After our final course, we were introduced to what was one of the more creative twists that Lyn 65 came up with. Lyn 65’s dessert menu is actually just giving-you-ice-cream. Anyone who stops in for a meal gets a free house-made soft serve cone. That day’s flavor was root beer, and there was much rejoicing.
After it was all over, we snapped an obligatory pick to commemorate what was more or less the greatest meal ever. It had everything: great food, free stuff, ice cream, and 80’s celebrities. Everything. A special thanks to Ben, Stacy, Awesome Host, and Co. Restaurants of Minnesota, consider the gauntlet to be officially thrown.