Last week a great thing happened I found a pretty good restaurant within walking distance of my house! Cave Vin opened a couple of weeks ago at 5555 Xerxes Ave South, in south Minneapolis (612-922-0100), and here is my review.
First let me say that for me, no other food matches the joy of spring as some small plates, appetizers or tapas. The small portions translate the season into edible dreams: a little salad or cold appetizer (ah, the warm weather), a little bit of hot food (its still chilly out there), things to properly eat with your fork, like in winter, and things to dig your fingers into, just like summer. A profusion of flavors take me to past springs, past seasons - this cheese plate reminds me of that little place by Aix en Provence, the French fries take me walking on Brussels. And the sharing of all these plates brings up the best of this season: relaxing with friends after a long winter, sharing dreams for the months to come, trading tips on gardening, on day trips, fancying the opening of the farmers market
Cave Vin fits perfectly in this picture. We went last Thursday (4/10) and had a very pleasant experience. The place is owned by the same people behind Pane Vino Dolce, but I liked Cave Vin a lot better.
There were two menus a fixed one and another one with daily specials. Both menus were almost he same length (!) with two-thirds of the menu comprising small plates.
For starters, our party ordered the steamed mussels, the frog legs and the escargots. The mussels were fresh and good, although not remarkable, but the frog legs came in a super tasty sauce (more bread! were cleaning the plate!), and the escargots were served in a cream-based sauce (it was the first time I had escargots in a different way than butter + garlic + parsley, and I really liked the richness that the cream brought to the mixture). This all went very well with a light wine, a Beaujolais-Villages.
There were few options for main courses: roasted chicken with herbes de Provence, steak frites, bouef bourguignon, monkfish and lamb, if I recall well. We had the steak frites, lamb, and monkfish. The fish was served in a light sauce, more like a thick vegetable broth, that complimented the fish without taking way from the delicate monkfish flavor. My husband had the steak frites a juicy cut of meat, very well seasoned, with crisp matchstick fries. Our friend had the lamb, and it was melt-in-your-mouth quality.
We were pretty satisfies by then, but it was such a nice meal that we decided to make it a complete experience, so we ordered dessert with our coffees. We shared a tarte Tatin with cream (the tarte Tatin had just the right amount of sweetness, hard to find around here), and a chocolate pot-au-crème that left us in awe, sighing ahs and ohs (to the point that the people in the table next to us actually said we want whatever theyre having!).
The prices were reasonable and we left very happy, relaxed and worry-free just as anyone should leave a restaurant on a beautiful spring day!