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October 3, 2005 // UPDATED 1:58 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Jeremy Stratton
Jeremy Stratton

East bank

Fine French cuisine has hit the East Bank neighborhood in the form of Fugaise, 308 E. Hennepin Ave., which opened Sept. 19. The elegant eatery is tucked away off the street behind Pacifier, 308 E. Hennepin Ave., with which it shares an entrance.

Fugaise's chef is Don Saunders, of Vincent, Le Belle Vie and A Rebours fame. Lunch entrees ($10-15) include steak and seafood salads, an omelet with goat cheese and roasted portobello, and pappardelle pasta with asparagus cream and truffle oil, among other items.

The current dinner menu features $9-12 "starters" such as scallops, potato leek chowder, chicken consomm/ and beet fettuccine. Entrees ($21-32) include seafood such as monkfish, ahi tuna and halibut, ribeye of beef with hedgehog mushrooms and squab (young pigeon) with lobster bisque custard.

The wine list features 20 wines, primarily French, ranging from a Terra Burdiglia, "Vigne d'Argent" Bordeaux ($22) to the $110 1998 Veuve Clicquot Brut Reserve Champagne.

For dessert, there's sweet wine-olive oil cake with peach comfit and Stilton cheese, saffron panna cotta, and chocolate tart.

If any of this sounds good -- and will fit your budget -- visit soon; Fugaise's menu is "seasonal and ever-changing," according to www.fugaise.com, where you can view the full menus, wine list and photographs.

Saunders and crew serve lunch Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; dinner Monday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m.; and Friday-Saturday, 5-11 p.m.; as well as a Sunday brunch, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Call Fugaise at 436-0777.

Warehouse District

The nation's second NBA City Restaurant will open in Target Center, 600 1st Ave. N., in February 2006. The Orlando, Fla. eatery was named "Best Theme Restaurant" by the Orlando Sentinel and features American cuisine such as oak-grilled steaks and hamburgers, fresh pastas, brick oven pizzas, salads and sandwiches at an average price of less than $15, according to NBA.com.

NBA City will be open to the public at street level on the arena's 6th Street side, accessible from the street or skyway. In addition to dining, fans can watch sporting events and programming "produced by the NBA exclusively for NBA City," shoot hoops in an interactive game area or shop for NBA merchandise, according to a Minnesota Timberwolves press release.

The restaurant venture's Minneapolis link is NBA City owner and Chairman Ralph Burnet, also a Timberwolves limited partner. Rob Moor, Timberwolves CEO, called NBA City a "state-of-the-art upgrade" to Target Center that will benefit season ticket holders.

Benefits for "courtside" season ticket holders -- the first-row elite -- include guaranteed dinner reservations and valet parking before games or events, a personalized locker in a "members-only" area, and other amenities.

Downtown-wide

Although TV's Dr. Phil has apparently taken an interest in the new "urban concierge" Polka Dot Sisters, don't go looking for them under that name. Though the partners have split, Michelle Willow will carry on the company, now called Twinkle.

Willow said she was contacted about appearing on the Dr. Phil show after a Sept. 5 article in the then-Skyway News.

The company, which offers a host of services to Downtown residents, continues to build a client base -- mostly for house cleaning, Willow said.

Information about services and an online request form will be available online soon, said Willow, or by calling 281-6192.