What can you say about a meal that grabs your palate on the first bite and then sooths it on the last bite three courses later? Well Jfood calls it a night at Alma. After two very good meals this week, Jfood noticed a new menu on line and drove over the river and sat at the bar. Here the bartendress explained the three types of gnocchi as Jfood glanced at the recently redesigned menu. Jfood had his favorite seat, overlooking the open kitchen so he read, watched the chefs and ate great food.
The menu is now three courses for $45 and for his first course Jfood ordered
First course - The Marinated Hamachi Tartar with jalapeno, shallot, in a soy-lemon dressing, and crispy yam
Second Course – Ricotta gnocchi and prawns with mushroom butter, shitakes, truffle oil and verjus; and
Entrée – Sautéed Pheasant Breast with creamed swiss chard, braised mushrooms and guajillo chili sauce
The server first brought a few slices of great honey rich bread, slightly warmed with nice, soft butter.
The marinated Hamachi was perfectly diced with a bit of shallot. Two rings of jalapeno brought the tiniest bit of heat and the dressing perfectly complemented the tuna. Then on the fourth bite, Jfood hit a touch of salt in the dish that woke the tongue to another flavor. The crispy yam slices added a nice crunch to the dish. The chef was now toying with Jfood’s palate.
The first bite of the ricotta gnocchi indicated a light ricotta and Jfood was initiaqlly surprised. Then on his next bite he combined the gnocchi with one of the perfectly sautéed shrimp and he understood. A heavy cheese would have overpowered the delicate flavor of the shrimp. Likewise the mushrooms remained in the background of the dish. The jus was so rich that Jfood used the spoon given to him to complete the dish with two spoonful of juice.
The pheasant arrived and it was a beautiful site. The first thing Jfood noticed was the creamed chard was nothing like creamed spinach. Cream was lightly included within the slightly shredded chard and laid over the chard was a perfectly sautéed pheasant breast. The final addition on top were the mushrooms. Jfood cut into the opheasant and his first bite made him stop chewing and enjoy the flavors of the breast and the crispiness of the skin. The chef cooked the pheasant to perfection. Now Jfood looked for the trifecta. Some mushroom, some pheasant and some chard all in one bite. The mushroom were earthy, the crispy skin, the succulent breast and then the richness of the chard. Everything you could want. The flavors all worked perfectly together.
So Jfood can now state that Alma has now moved to the top of his list of favorite restaurants in the Twin Cities.