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Bites Nearby: RedRossa is an Out-of-the-Mall Experience

Restaurant offers classy Italian fare, some at bargain prices.

Sooner or later, we all go to the Mall of America. Perhaps later than sooner, we've tried all the MOA restaurants and crave a new dining experience.

You'll get that by taking a quick trip south, across Killebrew Drive, to the latest restaurant up to bat,RedRossa Italian Grille, attached to the updated Bloomington Best Western Hotel.

If you're a penny pincher, take note that daily Happy Hours—3 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close—offer nibbles and beverages as inexpensive as three bucks. For that you can try Italian nachos, mini-bruschetta (my favorite) and draft beer or wine. A dollar or two more buys even more classy appetizers and drinks.

My picks from a tasting during opening week in July were sausage and peppers pizza atop crispy, delicate crust, baked in a wood-fired oven, and particularly, Brasato Al Chianti, which married wine-marinated braised short ribs with creamy polenta and grilled asparagus. I'd go back for either—or more likely, both—anytime.

RedRossa is a transplant from Sioux Falls, S.D., where it is among a broad collection of restaurants, such as the venerable Minerva's, all managed by the WR Group, which is making its first foray into Minnesota.

They've chosen Carl Littlejohn to be the Bloomington start-up's executive chef. He was previously at Ike's in downtown Minneapolis, one of my absolute favorite metro eateries (their four-layer chocolate cake, so towering it has to be propped up by a steak knife, is nirvana). Littlejohn seems to be as adept with Italian fare as he was with Ike's American.

RedRossa's handsome new home is at 1901 Killebrew Drive, Bloomington, and reservations might be in order because the word is getting around the MOA and environs that the food is worth crossing the road. Call 952-814-2910.

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