“Ok kids, dress up – we’re going out for a special lunch!”
Mill Valley Kitchen recently invited my family for a relaxing, California-inspired lunch. With the cold temperatures here now and all the excitement (and chaos!) of the holiday season over (yay! we survived!), our family was definitely up for some comforting, warm-weather inspired fine dining (especially ME!). My husband couldn’t make it, so I decided my kids and I would celebrate my daughter’s birthday by inviting one of her friends for a “fancy” meal out.
At Mill Valley Kitchen, located at 3906 Excelsior Blvd. in Minneapolis, Chef Rakun creates healthful, Northern California-inspired cuisine made from fresh, local and sustainably sourced Minnesota ingredients. Chef Rakun is passionate about incorporating health and wellness into upscale dining and enhancing the healthy lifestyles of guests.
With 3 kids of his own, Chef Rakun is always interested in new and innovative ways on how to get kids to eat well, including introducing them to new foods, such as bison in the kid’s burger or butternut squash, which he uses in the mac and cheese.
Each of the kids’ menu items at Mill Valley is served with fresh fruit and edamame and there is no butter used in sauces. Plus, all kids under the age of 12 eat free at Mill Valley Kitchen on Sundays after 4pm!
We had reservations for 11:30am (reservations are recommended but not necessary), and then were promptly seated at our table by the friendly host and provided with lunch menus. Our server, Mariah, was helpful answering my many questions (like “What is Pappardelle?”), and brought the kids crayons shaped like triangles called “Crayangles.”
The kids ordered meals from the kids menu – Macaroni and cheese for the girls, hamburger for my son. I had a hard time choosing what to order from the many hearty, tasty options from flatbreads to sandwiches and interesting entrees such as Grilled Arctic Char – and then I saw a server bringing an amazing-looking Brunch Burger to another table, and knew I had to try that.
The kids colored, played games and started enjoying their beverages while we waited (they ordered lemonade and chocolate milk, which was really creamy and good), then our meals arrived. The kids meals were well-balanced between their macaroni and cheese or burger (on whole grain bun!) and good-for-you sides of fruit and edamame. They enjoyed their entrees, which are very parent-pleasing as well, though the girls were done with their macaroni and cheese so fast I wish the portions were larger. The sides didn’t make up for their still being hungry (they wanted more macaroni and cheese and didn’t dig the edamame), and I helped them eat their fruit, which was really good and fresh.
My Brunch Burger was amazing. It’s a bison patty with english bacon, fried egg, smoked onion, sunbutter and dijon on toasted rye. It was so big I enjoyed each side separately and with orange juice. I would definitely have it again, minus the dijon which was too strong for me.
Mariah asked us if were interested in dessert, and revealed that the kids meals each come with a warm chocolate chip cookie for dessert, which was a nice surprise.
A big, warm chocolate chip cookie for dessert? Yes, please!
For me, I ordered a creamy and decadent Triple Chocolate Miniature, which was a chocolate lover’s dream with chocolate cake, chocolate swirl, and chocolate pudding, and two chocolate sticks (that I shared with my kids).
WHAT IS MILL VALLEY KITCHEN?
Mill Valley Kitchen is a restaurant and bar with wine selections from Napa, Sonoma and other California regions, as well as specialty cocktails and local craft beers. There’s also a private dining space, and they even offer valet parking service.
If you’re looking for a great place to dine out for a special date, or for a family reunion or other event with kids that encourages a healthy lifestyle (no fries or onion rings here), I think you’ll enjoy Mill Valley Kitchen for the upscale experience and many flavorful menu options.
Even the restrooms are a luxurious experience, with individual hand towels available.
HOW MUCH IS A MEAL OUT?
You can view the entire menu online, including nutritional facts and prices, but here are a few examples of menu items and cost:
Mill Valley Breakfast Burrito $12
Brunch Burger (which I ordered) $16
Cup of Soup $4, Bowl $6
Bison Burger with a small green salad $14
Turkey, Avocado, Tomato sandwich with small green salad $13
Miso Glazed Sea Bass Entree with ginger-shiitake quinoa, sweet and sour cucumber $32
Kids meals ranged from $5 – $7.
Save by enjoying a meal out on Sundays after 4pm when kids eat free!
OUR OVERALL THOUGHTS
We had a great lunch out at Mill Valley Kitchen. There were many other families in the restaurant, and our experience was relaxing and pleasant. Typically, being frugal, our family doesn’t eat out much, but when we do, we go everywhere from sit-down restaurants to buffets to fast food places for quick on-the-go kids meals. I had not heard of Mill Valley Kitchen before (it had just been off my radar), but I’m glad I know about it now. I would definitely go again for a special occasion like a meal out with a friend, or a special birthday with the kids!
WHERE YOU CAN FIND MILL VALLEY KITCHEN
Mill Valley Kitchen is located at 3906 Excelsior Blvd in Minneapolis.
(Disclosure: We received a complimentary meal out at Mill Valley Kitchen to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine.)