Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nibbles at Salut

Sunday arrived as unsure as the weather. It had been a weird weekend. Matt worked Friday and Saturday nights. I'd gotten to spend some really great time with Laura, but missed my usual partner in gross misdemeanors. Because we only had this one day to cram all our fun into, we couldn't figure out what to do.

One minute, it would be raining and gray outside, then the clouds would break and there was a glorious summer day. Soon, the wind would pick up, the sun would disappear and the fat droplets would explode on the sidewalk.

We eventually cleaned the house and made up errands to run - FUN. Stupid being a grown up and the stupid stuff to keep ones house from descending into hovel-like conditions.

Around 2:30 I decided we needed to capre some part of this diem before I had to return to cube life the next morning. I knew that the new Salut had opened up on Monday and figured that now was as good a time as any to scope it out.

The patio that had once been Sydney's faded '80's color was now surrounded by a tall wooden fence and populated with tables. They looked inviting, but there was the random rain thing to consider. We walked inside. The hostess and waitress guarding the podium had a very lengthy discussion on where to put us before sending us to a nice little table at the edge of the wall that opened up to the patio. It was wonderful to be able to enjoy the warm air.

There was a gaggle of servers lounging in the booth across from us. Reluctantly, they left their spot to get back to work. It must have been a slow afternoon.

We decided to order a small plate of the mussels and the pommes frites. They boldly advertise that they were elected the best fries in the cities. Well, we'd see about that!

More appetizing than the food menu is the drink menu. There were so many delicious sounding options. So, because it was a special Sunday and because this was the closest thing to a date I was going to get out of the weekend, I ordered a specialty drink. Our waitress, who was wonderful, quickly brought it over to me. It was fruity without being cloying and boozy without knocking me on my rear. It was Currant liquor and fresh juice and for the life of me, I can't remember the cutsie name given to it. We sipped out of our two straws, the adult version of a milkshake date.

The fries arrived with a frothy side of Bearnaise sauce. The mussels were steaming, wafting a luxurious roasted garlic and fennel perfume. They were tiny little guys and so succulent. Our waitress brought us more bread for the wine wine sauce at the bottom of the plate. Sadly, there was very little of it. Smearing the roasted garlic on the baguette helped ease my disappointment.

The fries were tasty and fresh. The Bearnaise was brightly acidic and lusciously downy from the butter. I wouldn't say that they are the absolute best fries in the cities (that has to be jP's) but I would say they are the best fries on Grand Avenue.
I'm thrilled that the new Salut is here. The bar space is much more open than the Minneapolis version and all that outdoor seating is going to be lovely in this warmer months. I've long lamented that there weren't any restaurants that I loved on Grand. What is there has always felt a little homogenised to me - even though, I know, most are not big chains and this restaurant is brought to us by the Parasole group. Still, it feels different and very right for this area. The prices are a little out of my dinner range, but so are a lot of things on Crocus Hill.
Just then the sky opened up again and all the poor suckers seated out on the patio got drenched. Ha! It's good to feel superior. I sipped by boat drink and hummed Foux du Fafa.


At 9:49 AM , Blogger andy said...

Splish splash!

At 9:29 PM , Blogger k & k said...

I was in training to work at Salut when another job called my name and I had to leave. What I did get in on was a week of long evenings tasting the entire menu--which is a lot! Unfortunately, I left before the night to sample the cocktails, but thought the one names Froggystyle sounded delicious. The food was really really good! I recommend the burgers, the french onion soup, and the steaks. I had never had oysters in the half shell before and now since then I am obssessed!

At 8:41 AM , Anonymous Peggy said...

Paul and Patti managed to snag a table at their soft opening (can you say FREE food?) I managed to snag an invitation when Paul decided to stay home and watch golf instead.

Patti, Joe, Mads and I were Salut guests and were instructed to order two apps, two entrees, one fish, one burger and two desserts. Oh, poor us (tee hee)

I agree that I will have to save up to eat there again, but I will have to go back just for the halibut. I usually like to make this pun when there is halibut on the menu, but in this case, it is absolutely true. The Halibut A La Provencale, crusted in fennel pollen and pan roasted, served over carmelized tomato sauce, extra virgin olive oil and herbs is SO FREAKIN' good. For $32.95 it better be.

Where does one get fennel pollen?


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