I tried the new Purple Sandpiper in Bloomington today - in fact, I tried it twice. I stopped in this morning, after noticing the "OPEN" sign in the window as I drove by yesterday, to try the lemon ricotta hotcakes for breakfast. They were thin and buttery-crisp on the outside, and not really pancakey on the inside - not fluffy - I'd have to say the inside was _almost_ souffle-like - you could just kind of tear off pieces of the cake, instead of needing to cut it, like you would with a normal pancake. Tough to describe, but with just the right amount of lemon, and a little tangy-creaminess from the ricotta, they were incredible, and served with some fresh blue- and rasp-berries that really offset the creaminess and accented the lemon. Syrup was also served, but was not needed.
I was the only person in the restaurant for most of the time I was there. I talked to the waitress for awhile - she was just so excited about everything, but in a good way - truly taking an interest in it, not in the bubbly/obnoxious "everything's great" too-perky way. She really got excited when I ordered hot tea - got to try out the new tea-maker they had - fresh-brewed Tea Source loose-leaf tea. They had green, Assam, Oolong, and Earl Grey, if I remember right. They green tea was very good.
I took a look at the menu and decided I'd go back for lunch. I was happy to see that the place was a lot closer to full - probably 2/3-full by the time I left. I tried the pork belly panini - pork belly, roasted pepper, basil, and maple mascarpone on brioche. It was a good sandwich, but suffered structural integrity problems - the brioche just didn't stand up to the toasting/grilling process - but this was anticipated, and it was served with a knife and fork. I liked the sandwich, but I just kept thinking to myself, "I wish this were more smoky - like bacon". The pork belly was really thin-sliced, and I think it was crisped on the grill - it might have been better if it were a little thicker. The sandwich was served with hand-cut sweet potato fries that came with a cinnamon-orange aioli for dipping - I enjoyed these more than the sandwich.
For those of you in the know about the local restaurant scene, this is the new restaurant by Ryan Aberle. I'm not that familiar with him, but people seemed to like his tasting menus at NorthCoast, and it looks like he'll be doing that here, too, at least according to the menu. I've never had the pleasure, but I might just give this a try - five courses for $35, $45 with wine pairings.
The website is:
Includes full breakffast/lunch/dinner menus.
This is at least the 4th restaurant in this little strip mall (in the Cub parking lot on Lyndale south of 494) in the last 3-4 years - I kinda hope this one stays around, so everyone should go there, but not so much that I can't get a table myself... Work it out amongst yourselves.
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