Date of Review
January 20, 2001
$20 and Up
Our Total Bill:
Yes, Blue Towel
2 Foot Grinder
|Renee's Side||Steve's Side|
A new restaurant in SE that has been opened to many reviews, most all of which agree the food is great. Some vary on whether service or wine lists are up to par. But both seemed fine to me. Since I drive by it on a daily basis, I was looking forward to trying it out. Unfortunately, they are not open for lunch, so I had to wait until we picked it out of our basket. I am glad we finally did!.
My only complaint is that is might be a bit too expensive. Most of the entrees were over $20, but all that we had were of excellent taste.
We started with an appetizer compliments of the chef. I believe this is only the second restaurant we have been to that has practiced this great kind of hospitality. We then shared a plate of olives and cheeses with homemade crackers. The crackers were great, the cheeses were great and the olives were enchanting. I then had a salad with blue cheese, apples and pecans, which was very nicely composed, with a nice blend of flavors. I next had the hanger steak with a wine reduction and fois gras sauce. It was wonderful. The steak was buttery and the sauce was sublime. We decided to share the Chocolate Terrine, which I found to be wonderful. As with all the dishes it was a marvolous compliment of flavors that worked together in harmony.
This was like a diamond in the rough experience. It is in an unassuming building and neighborhood. As you walk in you see a bistro setting. This is not a setting like Aquavit, Oceanaire or Goodfellows, but the food is of their quality. It was refreshing to see a restaurant of this sort open near the U of MN. Where you are more likely to see the opening of a chain restaurant rather than a great culinary experience.
Restaurant Alma is a bright, young star on the Twin Cities Restaurant scene. But don't take my word for it, every restaurant critic in the Twin Cities had been to Alma and has found the food, decor, and service to be very good.
Our appetizer; artisan cheeses, olives and homemade crackers; was delicious. I read in one of the many reviews that one of the owners worked for nearby Surdyk's, which has a fine cheese shop. The appetizer included fine chevre and pecorino cheeses (and another that I can't remember :(). My only complaint on this course is that there were dozens of olives, but only two crackers. Couple that with the late-arriving (but delicious!) bread, and we weren't sure what to do with all that cheese.
I ordered the Tuscan bread soup and the seafood stew. Granted that's not a good combination, soup with stew. But both tasted excellent. I was particularly impressed with the quality and quantity of seafood in the stew. Everything blended together well.
Restaurant Alma also gets points for being innovative, both the decor and menu. I would like to go back, if only to sample an updated menu.
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