Café Lurcat :: A Fine Dining Experience, Served With a Side of Noise, Minneapolis

cafe lurcatThe first thing that strikes you when you enter Café Lurcat in Minneapolis is a wall of noise. When my dining partner and I arrived for our 8 p.m. reservation, the bar/lounge was buzzing with conversation, and I thought, ok…we’re going to have to talk loud.

We did…but it was worth it.

This chic restaurant situated in the historic Fawkes Building overlooking Loring Park is described on their website as an urban hangout. Judging by the crowd that Saturday night, I’d say that’s probably an apt description.

(Side note: I grew up in Minneapolis and in those days, there were a few good restaurants, but you couldn’t get a decent cup of coffee in that town. I’m happy to report that things have changed dramatically. Over the years, the city has become much more sophisticated and offers a variety of dining experiences to rival any urban center.)

We were seated at a rather large table for four but when we asked to be moved to a cozier spot for two so that we could converse, the staff gladly obliged. The menu offered a tempting array of small plates and entrees divided into these categories: Broiler and Grill, Roasts, Saute, Braises, Vegetables & Side Dishes. For our appetizer we shared a combination raw plate which featured Kampachi Sashimi, Tuna Tartare and Raw Oysters on the Half Shell. Not being fond of raw oysters, we chose to skip them in favor of extra tuna tartare. The sashimi and tartare were fresh, delicious, and beautifully presented. For entrees, we chose Sea Bass Marinated in Miso and Seared Ahi with Lemon Confit and Ponzu. Both dishes were delicately flavored and melt-in-your-mouth yummy.

The menu at Café Lurcat is à la carte, so we ordered our accompaniments from the list of Vegetables & Side Dishes. We chose a side of golden beets and an order of their famous fries. From the restaurant’s list of by-the-glass wines, we chose Alpha Domus, a Hawkes Bay, New Zealand chardonnay. It was one of the least expensive, but very nice and paired well with our entrees.
While the service was, well…leisurely (we finished dinner at 11 p.m.), we found the servers to be very knowledgeable about the menu and wine list, and pleasant without being overbearing. When a sudden thunderstorm caught us by surprise, and neither my friend nor I had our cell phones with us, the waitress gladly provided her iPhone so that my friend could call a neighbor and ask her to close the windows in her house.

Adding to the festive atmosphere in the dining room was a party of 10 at the next table who were celebrating a birthday. Three or four times during the course of the evening they burst into a rousing “Happy Birthday to You,” with soprano voices soaring above the din.

We opted to skip the tempting dessert list, although it was pretty hard to pass up the Chocolate Profiteroles with Cherries Jubilee Ice Cream and Godiva Chocolate. One interesting note, the desserts were listed with recommended pairings, i.e., with the profiteroles they suggested a Stolichnaya Vanilla Cocktail.

Our bill for this little feast came to $116, plus tip.

Café Lurcat is a property of D’Amico & Partners, a name associated with fine food and well run restaurants in Minneapolis/St. Paul, and also in Naples, Florida.
Café Lurcat
Chef Adam King
1624 E. Harmon Place
Minneapolis, MN
5-10 p.m. Mon-Thurs.
5-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
5-9 p.m. Sun.

Posted by Lanny Udell on June 24, 2008 in Food

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