16 January 2012

Classic French cuisine stars at Vincent, Minneapolis

A trio of my bosses invited me to dinner to commemorate my 35th anniversary of working for Land O’lakes. Nice.

I chose Vincent in Minneapolis. It’s one of the most highly rated Minneapolis restaurants. I’ve been there before. I’ve entertained there before. But this was different, being the guest of honor.

So with 7 people around the table, we had quite a nice selection of items.

Several in the group had the house salad. I didn’t taste it, but it looked very nice. I had the pot-au-feu, and I must confess, I didn’t really understand what that would be. The menu described it as containing baby root vegetables and shaved duck breast. Sounded good to me. But I was somewhat surprised that it turned out to be more like a soup. It had a rich brown broth with vegetables and several thin slices of duck. I thought it was good. But like I said, it wasn’t what I expected.

My wife had duck rillette pate. The server described it as duck confit, shredded and combined with other ingredients and formed into a coarse pate. It was served with crisp pieces of toast. It was really good. I would order that in a minute.

For entrées several guests ordered the steak, a couple ordered scallops, one ordered corvina, and I ordered rack of lamb.

Everyone liked their food. The person who ordered the corvina was probably the least satisfied (though he didn’t complain, and he shared some of his wife’s scallops). It looked good. It just didn’t look to be exceptional. Those who ordered the scallops seemed to be very pleased.

Those who ordered the steak also were very pleased. The menu didn’t specify, but it came with Brussels sprouts. My wife was delighted. Others at the table were not.

I had rack of lamb. It was great. The person next to me, who had steak, said he wished he’d ordered the lamb. The meat was excellently prepared. It was served on a medley of squash, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts.

The service was pleasant but perfunctory. My wife thought the server was pretentious. Maybe. I don’t have any complaints about the service, but also I wouldn’t rave about it.

The ambiance of the restaurant is great. Most tables have a spacious view of Nicollet Mall. It’s very open and comfortable.

I think Vincent is one of the gems of downtown Minneapolis restaurants. I’d happily choose it again for another special occasion or for business entertaining.

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