Friday, May 11, 2007

A Menu with Interest

B.A.N.K. is so new that their website isn't even fully functional yet! Worse, I can't show you any pictures because my camera phone wasn't working. But don't worry - I've got a memory like a steal trap, or a vault, if you will.
What they've done with the space is incredible. They've converted the lobby, that used to be a Wells Fargo bank a couple of short years ago, into a lovely hotel dining room. I loved the colors that were different shades of a bright, spring day. The room is modern without losing any of the class from the former institution. The light fixtures look like hanging Fleur De lis. The chairs were very comfortable and the service was exceptional for a place staffed by newbies. Still, it's lunch in a hotel restaurant. Nothing was extraordinary, but it was lovely.
We started with the seared scallop appetizer. They were delicious, served on a creamy puree of roasted fennel and sweet English peas. The fennel sauce was mild with a hint of the anise flavor at the back of the palate. The sweet pea was also a soothing mellow spring flavor. Both were excellent foils for the tender sweet scallops that were cooked to perfection. I don't remember the last time that I had such a velvety textured, perfectly cooked sweet scallop.
For an entree I had the "pulled Amish chicken" sandwich. Eric wanted to know how you approach an Amish pulled chicken. I said very carefully. Pull too hard and he won't make any more cabinets. I know. We're lame. Just thank me for not working in all of the bank puns I'm trying to skip over. I wouldn't want to rob your enjoyable experience of hearing about our food. It'd be a loss. A taxing experience.... One without a full appreciated return.
Okay! Okay! But it's not just me! They use cutesy bank terms for their food.
Back to the food. Eric ordered the lamb sandwich. My chicken was good, but the bread was tough and a little stale. I had to keep ripping the poor thing apart to get to any of the food. I thought I might yank a tooth out! The oven roasted tomatoes were sweet and juicy. There was a good pesto and fresh mozzarella, but neither were particularly pronounced flavors. The Italian colors were visually stunning, but by the time I was done ripping the bread apart, my plate looked like it'd been through a shredder. Served with my sandwich were some really good homemade potato chips. Many places try, but seldom are they consistently good (Firelake! Mission! Please stop!) These were still warm and dusted with Parmesan cheese. They were amazing.
Eric said his sandwich was really good. I didn't get any. He kind of inhaled it, so I'm sure he's telling the truth. His came with a side of tasty homemade, dilly potato salad. It was good, but not throw-out-your-mama's recipe good.
We had to get dessert. The people next to us did and they were greedily slurping up their shot glasses full of tasty treats. Either you can order the entire tray of little tasties, including tiramisu, strawberry shortcake, chocolate cake and more. Enough that our waiter couldn't quite remember what everything was. I ordered the lemon cake topped with freshly made whipped cream and raspberries. It was divine. The lemon cake wasn't too sweet with a great zestiness flavor. The whipped cream was smooth and dense. The raspberries were sweet as if just plucked off a wild vine before landing before me. I am not usually much of a desert person, but this stuff was incredible.
Eric got the panna cotta and we decided to share the two stuffed apricots. The panna cotta - I'm not kidding - was the absolute best that I have ever had. Eric said 9 out of 10, but he's a pessimist that way. I want to know where he got this other 10 pana cotta 'cause I ain't buyin' it pal.
The stuffed apricots were okay, dried apricots stuffed with marscapone and dotted with pistachios - a clever little take on a cannoli. There was some honey on the bottom that tied all the flavors together, but I missed it. They were just okay.
My favorite part of these classy little desserts was the size. You can order as much or as little as you like. I'm not a big one for sweets, so just those couple of tiny spoonfuls were outstanding and hit the spot. I couldn't have eaten another bite. Even now, hours later, I'm still woozy from the sugar and salt and sunshiney happiness of the experience.
It wasn't cheap, either, but I think I've earned it. I'd say that downtown Minneapolis has another good power lunch at, especially if somebody else is picking up the bill.
If you go, just enjoy the ambiance, well-trained service and don't forget to order desert.
Now, that's advice that you can take to the bank.


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