To the inventor of MSP Magazine’s Restaurant Week, may I just say … You are a genius. And I love you.
The weeklong foodie feast is quite possibly the best reason to try out that restaurant you’ve always heard about but never got around to sampling.
Though it was a tough pick for the first choice, my friends and I decided on the New American cuisine of Café Lurcat, a product of the D’Amico family of restaurants. I’ve always been curious about this fine establishment since I set foot in Bar Lurcat for a little pre-celebration before a wedding reception.
Upon first impression, I was already very pleased. While walking back into the large, sophisticated dining room — which to be honest, I had no idea even existed — just about everyone in the restaurant greeted us, welcoming our group and wishing us a pleasant meal. We sat at a lovely table near the window, overlooking Loring Park and were immediately brought ice water and fresh, warm bread.
Not able to control my excitement for the evening’s events, I practically memorized the Restaurant Week menu prior to our arrival — yet sitting there, and taking in the smells of the kitchen, I found myself hedging on what to get.
We had the idea to try and all get different things so we could all sample as much as possible — but with certain menu options jumping out more than others, sharing quickly became less appealing.
My friend Alissa and I both decided on the Lurcat crab cake for our first course, while my friend Michelle opted for the signature starter of an apple, cheese and chive salad.
None of us were disappointed. The crab cake was both light and fluffy and oh-so-comforting. For the deep-fried goodness that it typically is, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t too greasy and had a wonderful airy texture, like a cloud of crab. The flavors were perfect, pairing the taste of fresh crab, a light almost-mustardy sauce and the crunchy crust of the outer shell.
Taking a taste of Michelle’s first course, the apple, cheese and chive salad was also quite refreshing and proves that the simplest ingredients can sometimes be the most flavorful. A few shreds of green apple were paired with thin grades of cheese and just a sprinkling of fresh chives. It was both crisp and delectable.
Heading into the second course, I again copied Alissa and ordered the signature Lurcat dish, sea bass marinated in miso. I tried to order something else but after our waiter described this dish with emphasis on the caramelized layer of miso topping the fish to perfection, well … I couldn’t help myself. Michelle ordered my second choice, the Berkshire pork tenderloin with fig compote, roasted onions and St. Pete’s blue cheese.
When the food was served, I nearly felt a tear forming in the corner of my eye. It was just so beautiful. And yes, this is how I feel about my food.
After composing myself, I took my first bite of the sea bass. It was seriously magical. Like one of those moments where I swear the lights all of a sudden became brighter and if I’m not mistaken, I could hear harps playing in the distance. The fish was both flakey and juicy and literally melted in your mouth. The caramelized layer of miso on top was truly the icing on the cake. It took the flavors of the sea bass and cranked up the volume. I loved it. And yes, so much that I think I would marry it.
I also tried a bite of Michelle’s pork tenderloin, which truly was cooked to perfection. Just a little pink in the center and an outer crust of seasoning that almost made you sad to swallow. Ahem, yes, that’s what she said.
And just when I thought nothing could top the meal, they brought out the dessert. Michelle and I ordered the triple chocolate cream cake with chocolate sauce because … um, hello? Does that not sound like the best thing ever created?
And holy macaroni was it ever. I had to stop myself from applauding when the beautiful dish came out.
If you’re a chocolate lover, you simply must try this dessert. I wanted to swim in it. The richness of the chocolate, mixed with the sweetness of a few aptly place raspberries gave me a newfound love for all things choco-lovely. The cake itself was like a mix between a rich mousse and a moist, ooey gooey brownie. The chocolate sauce that topped it was heavenly — sweet and satiny, but not too sticky.
Alissa tried the warm-cinnamon sugar doughnuts, which completely reminded me of being at the State Fair — though these tasty pastries were admittedly more fluffy and light than the fair staples.
All in all, the full meal was beyond wonderful. The kind of meal where you feel like you should bow at the chef’s feet and express your unworthiness. And the best part? That was only the first day of the weeklong food adventure. Oh Restaurant Week, why must you hurt so good?