10 August 2008

Dinner at Café Maude, Minneapolis

We recently had our second meal at Café Maude in south Minneapolis. Both experiences were wonderful.

Café Maude is one of those great neighborhood restaurants that can be found all throughout the city. Besides great food and an interesting wine list, they have live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

On our most recent visit our friends started with a Caesar salad which they split. They weren’t too fond of anchovies, so I scored the white anchovies that were served on the salad. The salad was unique in that it was served with a “tempura fried egg.” It was a hard boiled egg lightly coated with crumbs and then fried. It had a crisp crust that gave the egg an unusual texture.

My wife had a special on the menu – cauliflower soup. She said it was very good. I also had an evening special of squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese. They were lightly battered and fried. I shared all around, and the verdict was unanimous. It was great! I don’t think I’d previously had squash blossoms. Somehow, I thought they’d be stringy, but they were very tender.

For entrées, we each had something different. One of our friends had a roasted half chicken with Moroccan spices and apricots. My wife had had that same item on our previous visit. The chicken was roasted to a very tender consistency. The spices were not too hot. The chicken is not large, but if you’re hungry, you’ll need to order something on the side. Also, it’s a half chicken, and our friend does not prefer dark meat; half of the meal is dark meat.

Her husband had the grilled hangar steak. I couldn’t remember for sure, but I think that’s what I had on our previous visit. It’s a very good, well prepared steak with grilled onions.

My wife had the grilled hamburger with blue cheese and smoked bacon. This was no ordinary sandwich. The meat was tender and juicy. My wife took it out of the bun and it was really more like a hamburger steak.

For my entrée, I actually had one of the small plate starters of lamb skewers and saffron couscous. I thought it was fabulous. Like my wife’s hamburger, the ground lamb on the skewers was very tender and juicy. It was served with about a half cup of saffron couscous in a creamy sauce. The menu said it was a garlic-mint yogurt, but I didn’t think it had either a very strong garlic flavor or mint flavor. It was very rich, however.

Our friends decided to split a side of garlic mashed potatoes, and my wife and I split a side of French fries. The mashed potatoes were very unusual. It was like they had been fried before serving so that there was a crust on the outside. It was good, but like I said, unusual. The fries also were good. Actually, they brought out a batch of fries, and we all thought they were over-salted. So they brought us a replacement that was really great, at least partly because they were just freshly fried. They were served with a ‘truffle, mahon cheese fondue.’ I thought it was a little runny, but the flavors were great.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, one of the things we love about Café Maude is the live music. The trouble is, the combos are acoustic, and if you’re toward the back of the room, it’s difficult to hear because of the noise made by the diners. On this particular occasion, after we finished eating, the restaurant was beginning to empty out, and there was no one waiting for our table. So we lingered and continued our conversation and listened to the music. Very nice and relaxing.

I think that Café Maude is one of the best neighborhood restaurants in the city. Give it a try.

No comments: