15 January 2008

Dinner at Nick & Eddie, Minneapolis

My wife and I just got back from a Florida vacation where we enjoyed lots of good food. So you wouldn’t think we’d be hitting the restaurant scene at home so much. But we have. This past weekend, we went with friends to the new Nick & Eddie in Minneapolis.

Nick & Eddie has been getting a lot of local headlines and a lot of raves. The hype set quite high expectations. For the most part, it lived up to those expectations.

It’s located in a fun, cool part of the city, across the street from Loring Park. Next door is Joe’s Garage, one of our favorites, especially for rooftop dining on a warm summer evening. Just down the street is Café Lurcat, another reliably good restaurant.

When we arrived, the place was really hopping. We had 7:30 p.m. reservations. It took just a couple of minutes for our table to open up. Our waiter, Chris, was really quite a character. He said it was his birthday. I don’t know whether it was, but he was in a really good mood.

We took a look at the wine list, and with Chris’s approval, we selected a Qupe syrah. We really liked it. In researching this blog post, I looked at the Qupe web site and realized that their wines seem to be sort of a Spanish style. We love Spanish wine.

We started our dinner with salads. Two of our group ordered the evening special. It had lobster and seafood on grilled radicchio. The flavors were very bold and contrasting. My wife thought the radicchio was too bitter. The other two had a salad of bibb lettuce and cheese. Mine was goat cheese, the other diner had blue cheese. We thought our salads were simple and tasty.

For entrées, two of us ordered the mahi-mahi special of the evening. The mahi was cooked just barely through. It was flakey but still very moist. My wife tasted it, but it wasn’t cooked well enough for her preference. I loved it. One of the other diners had the braised beef cheeks. If you read some of the reviews that have been published, this is a dish that’s getting lots of praise. Our friend really liked it and said it was the tenderest meat he’d ever eaten. My wife had duck. She was not quite as thrilled by her meal as we were with ours. The duck breast was very flavorful, but it was served with the skin on and it was very fatty. She would have preferred a lean, skinless duck breast. Her duck was served with a wild rice and hominy side dish; she thought it was very creative and very tasty.

We didn’t really need dessert, but we decided to get one and split it four ways. We had a ginger cake made with fresh ginger. It was moist and very flavorful; the fresh ginger added just a little heat to the sweetness. I guess the signature dessert is a homemade chocolate ho-ho dipped in butterscotch. But that didn’t really appeal to us.

With the crowd that was piling in to the restaurant all evening, it sure looks like Nick & Eddie will have a successful run. It fills a nice niche on Loring Park – more formal than Joe’s Garage but more casual than Café Lurcat.

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