Last night my wife and I got a friend to watch our 2-year-old at the last minute and went out for a neighborhood bite. We are expecting our second any day now and so were exctied to have what will likely be our last nice dinner out for a few months. We had been through the door at Cafe Maude twice before. The first time was a Friday around 5:30 with our toddler in tow. We were treated fairly dismissively at the door and decided not to stay. The second time was a mid-week evening by ourselves. The food was fine, but the service was aloof and condescending. Last night (we had no reservations), we arrived about 5:45. It was fairly empty. The guy at the door led us to a table by the front window. I asked if there was a banquet available for my wife (her pregnant belly is obvious; like I said, baby coming any minute). The host explained that he had some large parties coming in, so the banquet seats were unavailable. Then he said (I'm still in a bit of disbelief) "I could seat you in a booth, but . . ." his voice trailed off and he walked back to the host stand. We stood there dumbfounded for a couple seconds and then walked out. Folks on CH and around town have said such nice things about the food at Maude. I would love to expereince it; we live in the nieghborhood; but geez, hard to enjoy the food when it feels like the staff does not want us there.
So we went over to Cave Vin (calling on our way to make sure there was room). Awesome dinner, great service. It was empty when we arrived, but filling up nicely when we left around 7:30. The food:
Garlic Frites - fries with raw diced garlic on them and a super tastey aoili. They were really good; almost like salty little donut sticks.
Percorino Pockets - swiss chard wrapped around sheep's milk cheese. Melty-salty cheese inside; nicely wilted, but still firm, bitter chard outside; something of a truffle oil/butter on top - very yummy
Beet and Fennel salad - with a dijon mustard. so used to seeing a similar salad around with a balsamic reduction and goat cheese or some variation thereof that the bite of the mustard against the sweet and spicy of the beets and fennel was a revelation.
Steak Tartar - great texture; a poach egg-yolk barely holding together on top; traditional accompaniments.
Butternutsquash ravoli - just what you would expect and delicious; the pasta was perfectly made and perfectly cook
Pot de Creme - only got a tiny nibble of this, but it made a very pregnant woman a very happy pregnant woman.
Some good wine for me, etc.
So overall a great dinner. We are at the other South/Southwest MPLS restaurants so often we sometimes forget about Cave Vin. In the end, I'm kind of happy Maude got their third strike last night; no need to waste more time trying to like it, more time for Blackbird/Heidi's/Grand Cafe/Cave Vin/Etc. We decided our first dinner out after we get through the initial new-baby hibernation phase will be back at Cave Vin.
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