The Corner Table on a Friday Evening

Sometimes it pays to be spontaneous on a Friday evening. We had every intention of going to Café Ena’s in South Minneapolis. Driving by we saw that it was packed so we ended up calling the Corner Table in the same neighborhood to see if a table was available there. Luckily Scott Pampuch (chef/owner) answered the phone as he was working the front of the house and said come on over. Arriving shortly before 9:00 pm, which is late by Midwest standards, we got a table straight away.

Perusing the menu at length we leaned toward the tasting menu but ended up creating a tasting menu of our own starting with the “nosh” plate ($8). It included a perfectly spiced chicken rillette, delicious charcuterie, superbly brined green olives, fresh goat cheese, house made cornishons, pickled turnips and toast points. Every flavor was a different dance on the tongue while we enjoyed a bottle of Les Deux Rives from the Languedoc region of France ($27).

We shared a velvety smooth carrot and parsnip soup with hints of cinnamon ($5), a creamy risotto with melt in your mouth lamb ragu ($10) and a croquette ($8). The croquette was a pillow of cream and potato in a panko crust surrounded by treads of saffron in a butter sauce, topped with tiny celery leaves and fresh tarragon.

Plenty of silverware allowed us to share tender ribbons of pappardelle with plenty of slow cooked pork ($15), a fillet of trout with preserved lemons ($23) and rare new york strip with creamy polenta ($28).

In front of me for dessert were three sorbets from Sebastian Joe’s a – grapefruit with mint, strawberry with black pepper and a raspberry were the perfect finish ($5). We also shared a flourless chocolate torte ($7) that was pleasantly light but gilded the lily by adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream on which we poured a cup of espresso; also known as an Affogatto ($5). Of course three desserts were not enough so we also indulged in the chef’s choice dessert which included the chocolate torte cut into squares and tossed in cocoa powder, it becoming then a chocolate truffle. Also in the plate was a taste of fig bread pudding with caramelized apples ($9)

As lovely as the food was, it was great that Scott had a chance to stop by the table to say hello. Our conversation included his continued quest for cooking with locally grown, sustainable ingredients. Wouldn’t it be great if every restaurant not only the Twin Cities but across the country would serve locally produced food at every possible opportunity?

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