Spoon and Stable
Whole Wheat Sourdough – Whipped Butter
Black Truffle Arancini – Fontina Cheese
Walleye Croquettes – Yukon Gold Potatoes, Herring Roe Gribiche
Duck Meatloaf Sliders – Caramelized Tamarind Glaze, Celery, Brioche
Seared Foie Gras – Carrot Sourdough, Ground Cherries, Bolted Radish, Coriander, Mango Vinegar
Buckwheat Bigoli – ‘Nduja Salami, Heirloom Tomato, Pecorino Toscano, Lovage, Breadcrumbs
Honey and Cream Cake – Raspberries, Sweetened Condensed Milk Ice Cream
Black Sesame Cake – Concord Grape Sorbet, Caramel
Petit Fours – Strawberry Macaron, Fig Newton, Chocolate-dipped Biscotti, Lemon Cake, Berry-Vinegar Pate de Fruit
Now approaching its fourth anniversary of service there was no doubt Spoon and Stable would figure into the Minnesota dining itinerary, Chef Gavin Kaysen having just returned from an event in California to join Executive Chef Chris Nye inside an open kitchen where local ingredients are transformed into elegant plates that build complex flavors through unique combinations while still focusing on its owner’s French training.
Called Spoon and Stable thanks to the Restaurant’s position inside a renovated space for Horses, Kaysen explaining at one point during the meal that Wine is stored in underground cellars discovered serendipitously during a construction process that has created a high-ceilinged room which is rustic yet upscale and lined with art, it was declining a reserved table in favor of a spot at the Chef’s counter that a seat was taken, each station working diligently to feed a fully packed room on Monday night.
Ironically sat next to a businessman from Nashville who was also familiar with Gavin’s cooking from Cafe Boulud, a similar sensibility as relates to flavors and presentations brought back to Minneapolis indicative of precisely why Chef Kaysen is mentioned amongst America’s most talented Chefs, it was from servers who balanced humor with professionalism that Bread was served, a housemade Whole Wheat Sourdough reminiscent of Keller’s Epi at Bouchon but built of locally milled Flour and served with a liberal smear of Whipped Butter.
Described as a “Midwest” Restaurant but probably better thought of as globally influenced and built on classic technique, a Rice Ball perfumed with Truffles atop Fontina Fondue awakening the palate, it was soon thereafter that a contribution from The Great Lakes gifted diners with Croquettes stuffed by Walleye and Potatoes in the style of Brandade, each one given levity by the acid and salt of Sauce Gribiche.
Happily allowed to sample items from the Bar menu in addition to larger entrees and appetizers, a similar way of ordering employed at Bellecour to enjoy more variety, it was as Radiohead played overhead that “Sliders” featuring Duck Meatloaf lacquered in Tamarind Glaze arrived, the Celery serving to keep richness in check just as Radishes and a spritz of Mango Vinegar would the generous slice of Foie Gras that arrived next with roasted Carrots.
At this point making tough choices, prices that might seem “high for Minnesota” actually a bargain for sizable servings of top quality Meat and Produce prepared with such attention to detail, it was with expletive-inducing-good housemade Pasta and ‘Nduja produced on-site that savories wrapped, the program at this point turned over to Chefs Diane Yang and Alexandra Motz who’d been busily working without hardly a moment’s rest throughout the evening.
Torn between four choices but with limited capacity after a long day, the decision thus deferred to a server who suggested one old and one new, suffice it to say that all the praise heaped upon Yang’s Honey and Cream Cake is deserved for rethinking Tres Leches to be less Sweet and more texturally compelling while a Black Sesame Sponge topped in vibrant Concord Grape Sorbet and Caramel continued in the same vein as Kaysen’s plates by taking ingredients not previously seen together and making one wonder why no one ever thought of it before.
Finishing up with Petit Fours, the Lemon Cake and invigorating Pate de Fruit both memorable at the end of a meal that did not lack for highlights, it was with a bill less than half what one would expect in New York paid that guests departed, the fact that Spoon and Stable could easily rest on its laurels as a “big fish in a small pond” thankfully not at all the case as Kaysen and his team are producing Food that would thrill diners in any major market on either coast or in between.