Last night, Anne and Pat took us out to celebrate our anniversary. This is a tradition between us. Anne and I were each other’s maid of honor and so we always take the other out for their anniversary. This creates an excuse for us to go try new (or a favorite) restaurant at least twice a year. I love that.
I was even more excited to be going to the Corner Table. It is on my list of food goals for the year and I’ve been reading about it for more than a couple of years. They are known for their commitment to the local food scene and have gotten consistent great reviews from all of the local critics. Chef, Scott Pampuch, is very well regarded and an expert at braising. Who doesn’t like an excellent braise?
Anne attempted to make a reservation, but they only take reservations for groups of 6 or more. So, when we arrived at 7:15, there was a 45 minute wait. What I think is funny about a place that takes limited reservations, is that there is no place to wait. The restaurant is small and unless you want to sit on someone’s lap, there just isn’t a good spot. We opted to go across the street for a pre-dinner coffee and tea. We were trying to figure out the upside to not taking reservations for smaller tables. I have never worked in a restaurant so I don’t know all the insider stuff. Can someone tell me why you wouldn’t want reservations? It wasn’t a deal breaker for us by any means, we are just curious to the reason.
We all agreed the atmosphere was great. It was cozy and warm which is appreciated when the temperature is below zero. It was buzzing because it was busy, but we could hear each other just fine. No outdoor voices needed. Brette described it as a cozy South Minneapolis nieighborhood spot. Yep, that about sums it up. I also loved that you could glimpse into the kitchen, that everything was clean, and that there were real towels in the bathroom. It’s the little things.
Again, top marks. The hostess was very nice and agreed to call us when our table was ready. This wasn’t necessary as we got kicked out of the coffee shop when they closed so we had to go back a bit early. She took our coats, which I thought was a nice touch. Our server was excellent. She was very enthusiastic without being annoying. She stopped by the appropriate number of times and never made us feel rushed. Plus, she had a great explanation of the pork belly dish.
Amazing. That’s what I’m going with. I know, it’s a bold word, but I really thought my food was amazing.
We started with the nosh plate that included pickled tomatillos, fresh sausage, mustard, apples and crostini. We devoured it. The mustard was my favorite…spread on bread. So good.
Then on the main courses.
Both Pat and I ordered the special. It was a braised rabbit over big house-made noodles, carrots, parsnips and foie gras butter. It was a lot like a chicken noodle soup except so much better. The rabbit was super tasty, the noodles were perfect and the broth was addicting. Neither of us left a drop in our bowl. The next time I have a cold, I would like to eat that. Actually, I’d like to eat it when I don’t have a cold too.
Brette had his fingers crossed that there was a lamb dish on the menu. He was in luck. And, it was fantastic. He graciously offered me a bite and it was very tasty. The lamb was braised and also came with kick butt noodles. I really liked the carrot chips on top.
Anne opted for the pork belly. It came on top of yellow lentil dal and was piled high with seasonal vegetables. Anne was very happy based on her empty plate at the end of the night.
Did you notice that all of the dishes are pretty much the same color? This is not surprising. There is not much ‘in season’ in Minnesota right now. However, root vegetables like carrots and parsnips keep well so it’s no surprise that they were the vegetables on each of our plates. This is not a place where you will find asparagus or heirloom tomatoes in January. They really stick to what’s available. Nice work Corner Table. You made Minnesota winter fresh and tasty.
We loved The Corner Table. We all agreed we would go back (and often). Brette pointed out that it would be a great place to bring out of town guests. It highlights the local farms, a great local chef, and a great neighborhood.
It is tradition when the four of us go out together that we end the evening with ice cream. Even when the temps are beyond frigid, we go for it. Minnesotans are hearty. We headed to Sebastian Joe’s where we had plenty of company. I had the Mounds ice cream and it was one of the best flavors I’ve had there. I restrained from ordering another.
The key to eating ice cream in the winter is to keep your coat on. Brette had the hazelnut. I snuck a lick and that too was good. It tasted just like hazelnuts!
Anne also had the Mounds and Pat went with the chocolate chip….which was gone by the time I took the photo.
It was a great evening. We are so lucky to have great friends who also enjoy good food. Thanks guys!