Another wonderful meal at Alma (MSP)
I know that there have been plenty of "I love Alma" posts on this board, but I just had to rave about the wonderful meal we had there on Saturday night.
Disclaimer: Restaurant Alma is my favorite special occasion (read "expensive") restaurant in the Twin Cities. The organic ingredients and excellent cooking always make me happy.
It was a birthday meal, and Mr. Tastebud (the hubby) pampered me by sharing each of his choices. So it was our own tasting menu of eight dishes.
- Miso-glazed cod on wilted spring greens (wow! this might have been the best dish we had)
- Salad with crispy chickpeas and chevre (yummy)
- Farro and white bean risotto with sage and orange (a fabulous combination of flavors)
- White hominy corn souffle with pulled pork and spicy tomato sauce (the best fancy rendition of southern flavors that I've ever tasted)
- Halibut with fava beans in a meyer lemon broth (my three favorite foods in one dish!)
- Seared duck breast with garlic flan (incredibly delicious)
- Black River gorgonzola with salad and candied walnuts (a fabulous cheese)
- Toffee-date cake with candied kumquats and orange-zest ice cream (I can't eat chocolate at night, but with this dessert, I didn't miss it)
It was a truly glorious meal. I'm still floating in a cloud thinking about it!
It wasn't cheap; with two glasses of Hermanos Lurton Rueda for me (Mr. Tastebud doesn't drink), the bill came to $115. But even for this notorious dining cheapskate, it was well worth it!
My friends and I seem to be the odd ones in terms of not having a good experience at Alma. We tasted all 12 items on the menu that day. The Starter and Middle courses were great but the experience really went downhill with the entrees.
The Local Grass Fed Beef Striploin was the best dish but not memorable enough to warrant a visit back
The Wild King Salmon entrée was served lukewarm. Even after the kitchen re-heated it for us, we felt the dish lacked flavor.
The Grilled Hawaiian Blue Marlin was very tough and rubbery on the top but the bottom was translucent (hadn’t been cooked). The orange flavor was too overpowering. We asked for the fish to be replaced with the Pork Loin, which was good but nothing special.
Our bill for 2 people, including one glass of wine each was $145 (incl. tax and tip.) With that kind of price tag, its hard to give this place a second chance.
Though I usually lurk and dream of having the time to visit the places that you all review, we had an opportunity to visit Restaurant Alma for the first time in a long time last night. It was as good as I had remembered and hopefully it won't take us as long to get back there.
My DH and I each had the tasting menu which allowed us to choose one item off the menu in each of 3 courses for $42. We felt like it was a good deal, as the portion sizes didn't appear to be smaller than what we would get if we ordered the items a la carte. We were certainly quite full by the end of the meal.
We both had the Bitter greens salad as our first course which included the greens, "melted"leeks, grilled bread and a poached egg. The egg and toast were comfort food with the added interest of the leeks, greens and truffle oil.
I ordered orrecchiatte and fennel gratin for my middle course which was mostly as it sounds, nothing out of the ordinary, but done well. My taste of my DH's lamb and chickpea soup was much more interesting, sort of like a tortilla soup but nice, intense flavors.
My main course was my favorite, a coriander crusted ahi tuna. It was a wonderful combination of flavors with the tuna, butternut squash, shitake mushrooms and citrus sauce melding together wonderfully. My DH had the veal scallopine and grilled veal sausage which tasted pretty good but I was much more into my tuna.
We split a chocolate-caramel tart for dessert which had a delicious ginger-orange sauce added to it, it was a great chocolate hit.
That plus the prosecco we drank put us over $140 for the meal, pricey for us to do on a regular basis but well worth it for a special occasion.