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Chef to Watch

Jim Christiansen

Photos by Richard Fleischman

Minnesotans don’t squander a warm, sunny day, and this spring, the retractable, all-season rooftop at Union Restaurant & Rooftop has had the city talking. But it’s chef Jim Christiansen’s food that keeps ’em coming back to the three-floor eatery that opened in November.

Serious food lovers know him best as one of James Beard award-winning chef Tim McKee’s protégés. After a decade of cooking at McKee’s many Twin Cities restaurants (and a recent stage at Copenhagen’s noma), Christiansen has stepped out with a menu that shows off his passion for sourcing the best possible ingredients.

The gorgeous first-floor dining room offers a different version of the menu (Christiansen is especially proud of the suckling pig confit with sage oil, apple juice, potato and leek), but first-timers should opt for the rooftop.

“I want it to be a place where the food is more casual,” Christiansen says. “But I still want the service to be intelligent. I want the food to be done well.”

Christiansen’s rich, creamy chicken liver parfait with maple and apple schmeer on a slice of grilled bread is stupidly good, and grilled shishito peppers topped with Parmesan and spicy garlic butter make for the best happy hour snack you never knew existed.

Who knew rooftop dining could be so classy?

Molly Mogren

       
 Union's chicken liver parfait with maple.        

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