Balkan Punch – Squash Infused Rum, Tikves Vranic, Orange Curacao, Lemon, Matifoc and Tresmontaine Rancio Sec, Blackstrap Bitters
Housemade Ricotta and Crackers, Truffle Honey, Rosemary, New Olive Oil
Caraway Crackers, Sourdough, Focaccia, Salted Butter
Grass Fed Bison Tartare, Yogurt Raita, Tamarind, Crispy Chickpea Chaat
Soft Cooked Egg, Mushroom Broth, Speck, Polenta Crouton
2010 Colpetrone Sagrantino Di Montefalco
Duck Two Ways, Porcini Bread Pudding, Worcestershire Glazed Beets, Spinach
Pear Mille Feuille, Candied Almonds, Lemon Paper, Summercrisp Pear Sorbet
Long heralded as one of the Twin Cities’ best Restaurants, a Beard Award for Chef Alex Roberts in 2010 placing Restaurant Alma in the national spotlight, it was Friday evening that a spot at the bar was filled to partake in Executive Chef Lucas Rosenbrook’s Prix Fixe Menu, the fact that a reservation had been made well in advance apparently still not enough to justify a table in the main room despite what appeared to be several open seats.
Located inside a historic building within one of Minneapolis’ older neighborhoods, the addition of a Hotel and Café in recent years turning Alma into a more inclusive space for both travelers and locals, it was just prior to a 7:00pm reservation that the area in front of a youthful bartender and several exceedingly loud guests was found set with plates and menu, Cocktails for just $8-9 admittedly a breath of fresh air compared to Las Vegas and one called Balkan Punch proving complex but nicely balanced in its combination of Wine, Citrus and Spirits.
Best described as New American or perhaps “Farm to Table” in its Fare, everything possible locally sourced and all Breads as well as thick Ricotta made on-site, it was for $8 that a heaping spoonful of Cheese was served slick with Honey and Rosemary, the Caraway Crackers proving a brilliant delivery device both here and for salted Butter later though both Sourdough and Focaccia seemed a bit dry.
Perhaps unfairly frustrated by the seating situation, though the fact that the all five patrons to the right were liberally partaking in Wine and growing louder by the minute made 20+ minute gaps between courses feel infinitely longer, it was finally thirty-five minutes after sitting that a thin layer of raw Bison arrived next to a smear of Yogurt and crumbled Chickpeas, the flavors fine but gone in three bites and followed by more unintentional eavesdropping before receiving a bowl of tepid Broth and a rubbery Egg.
Perhaps sensing some displeasure or perhaps being friendly, the difference hard to tell when a Bartender is forced to act as sever while being constantly tasked with mixing and pouring for the whole room, it was alongside “Duck Two Ways” that a complimentary pour of 2010 Colpetrone Sagrantino Di Montefalco was offered, the rich Cherry flavors playing very well off rosy Flesh and crisp Confit as well as the umami-rich round of Stuffing.
Cleansing the palate with pure Coconut Sorbet, the lack of added sweetness surprising but greatly appreciated, it was deciding between Mille Feuille or Pot de Crème that the evening ended on a high note, the noisy group at this point shouting but not quite loud enough to silence a spoon crackling through crisp layers that at first look like Biscotti but in reality may very well contain a thousand leafs of Puff Pastry divided by thick Custard.