4.5 out of 5.0 stars

For this weeks Twin Cities Burger Night with myself, @hawnsrodgers & @phatphood, we got to check out a brand new and newly renovated restaurant which happens to be in a hotel where some major renovations are taking place.

The new Renaissance Bloomington West Hotel still says Crown Plaza outside, but inside I think you’ll love all of the changes, beginning with a restaurant called LARS, that Executive Chef Taylor O’Brien was brought in to run.  After talking with Chef Taylor for a while, it’s clear he has a lot on HIS plate, but what he put on OUR plates was pure magic!  His new menu highlights “elevated comfort food”. You will notice a Minnesota feel throughout much of it.  I would love to keep going on about the menu, but I’ve got a burger to talk about, a very good burger!

It’s simply called “burger”, but simple it’s not.  Chef’s half pound, tri-blend of chuck, short rib & brisket from @petersoncraftmeats is very juicy, flavorful and seasoned very well.  Some nicely melted cheddar gives off a little smokey flavor.  Caramelized onions give me my onion fix.  A few slices of thick, hand cut, Peterson bacon adds a little more smokey flavor.  This bacon is really good.  A slice of tomato and some nicely cut shredded lettuce are in the mix as well.  Finally, a tasty fennel-tomato aioli is generously swiped on the top and bottom bun.  The brioche type bun from Chef’s Line is soft, buttery, perfectly toasted and just very good.

You are going to like this burger.  I love it!  The hotel should be rebranded by January 19th, so keep that in mind when looking for the restaurant.  Don’t think of LARS as a hotel restaurant, think of it as a great restaurant that happens to be in a hotel.  You have to know about the other items we tried off this menu.  Check out all of our posts and stories.  I’m coming back soon!

Thank you, Chef Taylor, for having us in.  Thank you, Jackie & Lexi for taking care of us.  Thank you, Mike for the great cocktails.

French fries – Fantastic and very addicting!

Tots – Delicious!  You are not going to believe these.  You will be shocked!

Smoked trout dip – Very good!