Farewell 20.21

20.21 in the Walker Art Center is no more. A Wolfgang Puck joint headed by Chef Asher Miller, 20.21 has for years been a go-to celebration place for us. A world-class “celebri-chef” found Minneapolis the perfect location for his vision of modern and seasonal Asian fusion food. Inexplicably, the Walker Art Center said, “Thanks, but no thanks. We’ll stick with a generic D’amico cafe.” (Of which the city already has dozens). Boo.

We had a bittersweet final meal at 20.21 a few weeks ago and it was delicious as always.

In 2009, Wolfgang Puck was in town for a fundraiser and took calls during an hour on MPR’s “Midmorning” show. I asked for his recommendation for a very special date night at 20.21 and he enthusiastically endorsed several items — one of which was the not-on-the-menu tuna cones. To start our farewell meal, we enjoyed the tiny cubes of fresh raw tuna ensconced in a small black and white sesame seed tuille cone with a bit of mysterious and delicious spiced sauce. Perfection.

Tuna Cones

We also inhaled (as you can tell by the missing dumpling and spoon in the photo) shrimp and scallop shiu mai dumplings. They were fresh and light and devoured within seconds with that crispy baby herb salad.

Shrimp and Scallop Shiu Mai Dumplings

If you wanted to be the envy of the entire restaurant, you couldn’t go wrong with a huge platter of lobster with curry risotto and fried spinach. The evening K proposed we shared dinner with friends at 20.21, after which we headed home and he popped the question. The table shared this festive platter filled with sweet chunks of tender lobster with a bit of bite, creamy, mild yellow curry risotto and crispy, salty spinach better than any potato chip you could ever imagine. We couldn’t resist an encore presentation during the final meal.

Shanghai Lobster with Yellow Curry Risotto and Crispy Spinach

To make K’s mom’s most recent birthday extra special, we brought her to 20.21 where they served her their signature Spoon Cube and Cherry dessert complete with sparklers and a birthday message written in chocolate on the plate. The staff absolutely went above and beyond the call of duty during that visit. On our last visit, however, we enjoyed a not-too-sweet pineapple “upside down” cake of sorts — resplendent with the natural sugars of the fruit and perfectly plate lickable.

Thanks for the memories 20.21. You’ll always be a special occasion place for us and you will be missed!

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