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Levain, Five & Auriga - all Gone
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Post Levain, Five & Auriga - all Gone 
3 fine-dining restaurants have closed. Levain, Five Restaurant & Street Lounge, and Auriga restaurants are all gone. I have been to Auriga before, and had plans to try Levain and Five.

The closings of 2 outstanding restaurants, Goodfellow's and Aquavit, that set the bar for the city's dining scene, had stirred the debate about whether Twin Citians appreciate fine dining at 4- or 5-star restaurants. Time and again, we have learned that we can envy big cities like NYC or Chicago, but that is as much appreciation as we can have for creative menus and talented chefs.

... Minneapolis is, in my opinion, a two-star city. We aren't Chicago, where Tru is busy every night of the week. Still, I don't think there's a trend going on here. It could be that there just isn't enough of the Armani crowd to fill these restaurants on a regular basis. There's an awful lot of Lutheran DNA here, and that's a prescription for safety in dining. There's just a limited number of folks here who will warm up to sea urchin crème brûlée. It may have something to do with price, but not always. ... -- PHIL ROBERTS Co-owner, Manny's, Chino Latino, Figlio, Oceanaire Seafood Room, Minneapolis; Salut Bar Americain, Edina; Muffuletta, St. Paul

I think Roberts hit the nail on the head without hitting it too hard. Old Country Buffet seems to be thriving here though.

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Post Twin Cities residents too provincial? 
Are we too provincial in our tastes? Or are we too practical to pay too much for too little on a plate that may or may not be good?

I've eaten at more than a few "fine dining" establishments. I've also been to OCB, Jax, Keys, etc.

Sometimes price or unusual ingredients will not equate to quality.
I've also had a truly wonderful meal overshadowed by a dining room that was too crowded and had been designed for visual impact, but not for comfort, relaxation or enjoyment.

And yes, we do have more than our fair share of Nordic tastes...where salt & pepper are considered exotic spices, but we also have a large number of ethnic and specialty restaurants that may not be as ritzy, but offer delicious food and elegant presentation for a more reasonable price tag.

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