After reading the taste section in the Star Tribune this week I was intrigued to check this place out. The head chefs have worked at some legit restaurants such as: Travail, Saffron, La Grassa, Porter and Frye, etc. The actual restaurant itself is aesthetically pleasing. We did not have reservations so we ended up at the bar.
We started with the oyster with a smoked lemon ice and pickled shallots. The oysters were perfectly shucked with all of that beautiful liquor and the smoked lemon ice and shallots added to the dish without masking the essence of the oyster. Next, was the soup which consisted of champagne, fingerling potato chips, black truffles, and chives. They do a table presentation which was a nice touch. The bowl comes with all of the components and then a velvety texture of potato and cream is poured into the bowl. This dish was perfectly executed and tasty. That being said it was a little boring.
For the third appetizer we had fried cauliflower which had pickled chiles, a fried oyster,caper berries, fried parsley and some sort of sauce. I couldn’t put my finger on the sauce but this dish to me was almost great. I’m a huge fan of salt but I found the cauliflower too salty. Then to pair it with salty caper berries didn’t make sense to me. The fried oyster was awesome. I also am a whore for any fried herb. I think with a little tweaking this could be a killer.
Moving on to the entrees we had octopus with butternut squash, soy, daikon, cilantro, lime, and peanuts. This dish was a knockout. The flavor was a perfect balance of salty, sweet and sour. The octopus was extremely tender. Killer dish period.
The pork belly with manilla clams, fresh soba, shitakes, and kimchi dashi was okay. When ordering I was most excited about this dish. Although all the flavors worked it was missing that pop. I couldn’t really put my finger on it. Maybe missing some sort of brightness. The pork belly was also overcooked. I know some people are picky about things that you have to chew more than once, but this was cooked to oblivion. I didn’t pick up much kimchi and the flavor of the broth tasted like nothing but ham.
Next was the skate with baby artichokes, parsley, capers, brown butter, and lemon. The plating was gorgeous and I liked the dish. The farro cooked in chicken stock and squid ink was awesome. When I got a bite of everything together I really enjoyed the dish. The only negative I would say is that the skate was a little overcooked. That being said I appreciate them having skate and sturgeon on the menu. People need to get past tuna, salmon and halibut. There are other fish in the sea.
Finally we finished the meal with dessert. Let me start by saying I’m really not much of a dessert guy. That being said, this was really good. The brioche donuts were fried perfectly and tossed in cinnamon sugar. They then served this incredible espresso cream with some sort of foam, and chocolate dipped bacon. This is the best dessert I can remember eating.