Recent Restaurants Worth Noting

Saffron Restaurant, 123 North 3rd Street, Minneapolis MN
A lemony hummus with warm bread started our small plates menu. Following are some of the mezze plates we enjoyed: Bulgarian feta ($4.50) marinated with fresh oregano, peppercorns and olive oil. The cheese was crumbly on the plate and had a nice bite on the tongue. Pickled Vegetables ($3.50) including cauliflower and shaved salsify were marinated with an “English” style curry. Haloumi Cheese ($5) was served with piquillio peppers and capers. The peppers and capers were an enjoyable piquant accompaniment. Kofta Meatballs ($4.50) were served in a tomato-harissa sauce. The mint in the sauce was gave it nice zip and a refreshing taste. A small plate of Deviled Eggs ($6) with preserved tuna, capers and black olives rounded out our experience. While I was enjoying them, I was thinking a duck rillette would be very tasty in a stuffed egg.

The 112 Eatery, 112 North 3rd Street, Minneapolis MN

We started with a Meritage from Portugal: Lavradores de Feitoria, Vinhos de Quinta, SA. 2004. It had a very complex nose of black cherries and a hint of barnyard. The amuse bouche of spiced green olives and spicy/hot almonds were a delightful treat to begin the evening. The crostini with white anchovy and avocado ($8), were simple yet delicious. We each enjoyed a lamb scottadito with goats milk yogurt ($12), pounded out slightly and quickly seared on the grill. We also sampled a spicy sweet potato with honey ($6), crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

Cafe Maude, 5411 Penn Ave South, Minneapolis MN

As soon as I noticed confit, the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Tempura Duck Confit and Frisse was a must. I thought what a great idea to tempura confit and frisse. Both added a wonderful accompaniment of succulence and crispiness to the soup. The Fennel Crusted Braised Short Ribs ($22) is usually served with Roasted Garlic Baby Red Potatoes and Onion Rings. Instead we substituted the Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter Onions, Honey Crisp Apples and raw Red and Gold Beets ($7). The ribs were fall-off-the- bone tender, mahogany glazed with the perfect balance of fennel. The portion was enough to share with my dinner companion and still have a sweet tooth for dessert. Desserts were a Scone Bread Pudding with Ginger Ice Cream ($6) and Chocolate and Hazelnut Fried Raviolis with Pistachio Ice Cream ($7).

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