With a new year come new opportunities. And for me, that means continuing to try out all the Twin Cities has to offer for wining and dining, until I’ve tried them all.

As a reminder, I’m in no way an expert critic, nor do I possess the chops to call myself a local foodie. I’m just hitting the restaurant ground running, letting my seriously curious taste buds lead the way.

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It seemed only fitting to kick off the New Year with a trip to a place I’ve heard great things about yet for some reason or another, had not made it to a table.

When you walk into Kafé 421, you’re greeted with a velvet curtain, somewhat reminiscent of a magician’s cape. Like the illusionist’s cloak, here, you’re poised and ready for a some kind of magical reveal. (No worries, the kitchen’s already way ahead of you.)

The homey comforts inside Kafé 421 make you feel like you’re dining with family. And many times, you are. You’ll almost always spot Miss Georgia Sander, the restaurant’s founder, dining with the regulars, walking around to ensure everyone’s meal was well enjoyed or talking with the wait staff, including members of her own kin.

The atmosphere is relaxed and the servers are both a delight and top-notch. Not to mention, true to the Grecian standards, no meal is ever served without a little love.

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The menu is presented full of Greek classics, with a few twists along the way. The Moules Frites combines a generous helping of steamed Blue Point mussels with a savory red coconut curry broth, served with perfectly crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside French fries. It’s a huge entrée for the $13.95 pricetag.

The Cardel was incredible. The pan-seared sea scallops with a perfect salty crust, served with a touch of sweetness, went perfectly with the coconut risotto. Risotto has become a new favorite of mine, and this one, which balanced the sweet and the savory flawlessly, was definitely in the top for me, though to be honest, I could’ve done with a little less coconut. To top it all off, grilled asparagus dusted in sea salt added a great balance of flavors and finished the dish quite nicely.

The daily specials are definitely something worth checking out as they are always offering the best of comfort food and full-flavored entrees. The wine list offers a nice affordable selection and the rest of the menu — both in happy hour offerings and lunch sandwiches and soups are sure to please anyone’s cravings.

I’m still not sure what took me so long to make a trip to the Grecian comforts of Kafé 421, but I can safely say it won’t be my last venture. Both the warm hospitality and the delicious, hit-the-spot cuisine made for a perfect start to a new year.

Kafé 421 is located at 421 14th Ave. SE in Minneapolis. For hours and menus, check the website.

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Sara Boyd is a web producer and columnist at WCCO.COM.