21 June 2009

Anniversary dinner at Café Lurcat, Minneapolis

For our anniversary this year, we wanted someplace special. The dilemma was – someplace special, like someplace we’ve been before or someplace new? We finally decided that for this anniversary (No. 35), we didn’t want to take a chance. So we decided to go to a reliable standby. That narrowed the range somewhat, but there are at least a half dozen ‘favorite places’ we could have picked. The one we finally decided on, the one we were absolutely sure would delight us, was Café Lurcat. It didn’t disappoint.

Start with the space. It’s gorgeous. White table cloths give it a formal, dressy feel. High ceilings give it a spacious, airy feel. Comfortably spaced tables strike the right balance between intimate and social – you’re close enough for some discrete spying (absolutely necessary for checking out what other people are eating) but far enough away to protect your own sense of privacy.

Our table was a primo location by the window overlooking the alley and with a view of the street and Loring Park. The people-watching was great. Linda even spotted an old friend from Duluth. (They came in to greet us. And when we finished, we went up to the rooftop of Joe’s Garage to visit with them.)

We ordered a bottle of wine. It was Francis Blanchet Pouilly Fume. It was very reasonably priced and was a great accompaniment for the food we selected.

Café Lurcat’s menu is a combination of house specialties and seasonal specials. For our starter, we decided to split the salmon tartare, which was a seasonal special. It was served atop diced pineapple and was seasoned with chili vinaigrette. It was garnished with thin slices of radish and edible flowers. Really great.

Linda’s entrée was a café specialty – scallops. They were cooked just the way she likes them, cooked through but still tender, not dry and rubbery. They were served on housemade creamed corn and wild mushrooms with dots of pungent blue cheese. My entrée was a seasonal item – halibut with roasted tomatoes and scallions. The fish was moist and flakey and totally delicious. We also ordered a side dish of roasted cauliflower, which also was amazingly tasty.

Service through the evening was attentive without being annoying. Our wine glasses were filled when we needed them, but never overfilled. He was very knowledgeable about the wine and guided us to make a great selection. He also gave good advice about the menu items.

It’s fun to try new places. But for a very special occasion like this, I’m glad we chose a reliable restaurant that we knew would come through.

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