Dakota Jazz Club has an awesome vibe and focus. I just love that Minneapolis has a smart, cozy, sophisticated jazz club, bar and restaurant right in the heart of downtown.
I came here for a night of Cuban jazz and enjoyed it immensely. Be warned that you might have to pay a cover charge (which will be added to your dining bill). In my case I paid $15 which wasn't bad considering the intimate venue, the one-of-a-kind music and the roughly two hours of actual performance.
The staff and kitchen is also exceedingly agreeable and knowledgeable about vegan food. I just wish Dakota would add a set vegan option to the menu and label it clearly (the current menu has NO vegan or vegetarian options, as far as I could see); I suspect if they did so, they'd get a lot more vegans and vegetarians stopping by, as the food here has definite signs of imagination.
I let the chef surprise me and got a rice noodle stir-fry in a chili oil broth with chicken of the woods mushrooms, bok choy, baby cilantro and a bit of radish ($18). The dish not only tasted good but easily outdid the boring pastas or risotto-type dishes that most upscale joints make, and never deviate from, when crazy vegans show up.
I also shared a basket of fries ($5) which were good but could have been crispier.
My friend and I also had a few drinks. Our initial drinks were good, but not great at about $10 a piece (a cuba libre and a "Johnny Come Lately" which consists of apples and vodka, I think). The final drink, a Minnesota Martini ($10) was barely tolerable. The alcohol burned the throat and I felt like I should be treating wounds with the drink rather than imbibing it.
The service was friendly if not super attentive.
I'd definitely come back to Dakota Jazz Club for special occasions or performances. In the meantime, they should improve their cocktail quality and add a vegan item or two to the menu, and then I might stop by even more often.