Cou[ d’Etat opened two months ago and is already serving delicious cuisine. Located on the corner of Girard Avenue South and Lagoon Avenue across from the independent movie house, this newly reconstructed building offers numerous rooms, a hip and vibrant vibe, several bars and interior seating for about 200 people and when the weather warms, another 100+ guest can enjoy the cuisine al fresco. No expense was spared by the people that brought MSP Borough Restaurant in the design with tin bars, leather covered chairs, dark woods, several different chandeliers and an open stainless steel kitchen. Yet the prices on the menu and the quality and the size of the portions reflect a focus on high quality with reasonable prices.
When I entered the restaurant at 600PM on a Monday evening the bar was already 50% full and for the next 45 minutes I noticed people arriving for dinner while others, mid-20’s, leaving for their next stops. The restaurant is both an after-work meeting place for a quick drink and a dinner destination. The crowd on my visit was more 20’s and 30’s versus their parents and this created a very youthful, hip vibe to complement to décor.
The opening room contains a large u-shaped bar that seats 24 surrounded by high tables along the windows for another 30, booths to the side for 50 another bar overlooking the kitchen in the rear for another 10 guests. Eclectic chandeliers and soft globes light the main room. There is another huge room in the rear plus additional space on the second floor. The interior is massive. A large chalkboard hangs on the wall above the kitchen displaying the menu.
The menu on their website is fairly accurate, although some ingredients may vary and some of the prices might be different but it will give a good indication of the cuisine. The server told me the chefs were all in their thirties, had some local experience. From the menu, it appears they tend to lean towards adding a spicy component to most of the dishes and are creative in blending various cuisines.
For a first course I ordered the “Gnocchi.” This mildly dense version delivered a good texture, but just missed great with just a tad on the gummy side. They were crisped on the exterior and nestled in a pool of brown butter that contained a good amount of garlic, and topped with chives, grated parmesan and the surprise ingredient, black truffles. I was skeptical about truffles in a $12 pasta dish, but they were there and added their delicious earthiness. The size was a little large for an appetizer and a little small for an entrée, but for the price the flavors, textures and presentation was fantastic.
For an entrée I ordered the “Pork Osso bucco.” It is served with orange, fennel, fregola and turnips. This would be better described as a pork shank on a menu as it was an enormous piece of meat. I asked for a sharp knife and the server gave me one but told me there should be no need for a sharp knife and she was correct. In fact there was no need for any knife as the meat was so tender and well roasted that it fell off the bone. The flavors were great with a good spiciness from “lots of pepper.” The orange gave a nice citrusy background to the meat but the fennel was non-existent. The fregola was delicious and I told the server the kitchen should add more to the plate since it was a meagerly portion given the size of the shank. The three halves of the turnip were sweet and delicious as well. I was looking for some textural contrast, the on-line menu states marcona almonds, and I think the chef should reconsider that or change the grain to one with a crunchy exterior. This was a fantastic shank, one of the best.
And the service was even better than the meal. My server was spot on in every aspect of the meal.
Overall this was one of the best meals I have enjoyed in Minneapolis and for the price and atmosphere this should definitely be a date night destination if anyone is thinking of dinner and a movie.