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Fugaise (MSP)

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Prompted by the lively discussion on Andrew Zimmern's blog about the future of Fugaise, we went there for dinner last night. The room was about 1/2 full when we arrived (the busiest it was all night). The waitstaff was incredibly friendly and down to earth, and suggested a perfect wine for us when I said we were open to anything. I started with the tuna ceviche, which actually more like a carpaccio - not "cooked" in something acidic but served raw. It was extremely good and flavorful, served with pureed avocado, mango and rye toast. I didn't really get how the rye toast went with those other vibrant flavors but I ate the entire thing anyway! My husband started with the appetizer special which was morels and asparagus topped with hollandaise and a poached egg. It was delicious but he thought the hollandaise and the egg yolk made it a bit too rich, and it would have been fine with one or the other.

For our main dishes I got chicken and he got halibut. I really thought the chicken was the shining star of the evening. It was so incredibly moist and had this perfect polenta cake and olive pan sauce. Husband's halibut was very flavorful but we both agreed it was one step away from being so buttery that it fell apart in your mouth. We were both looking for that texture and it wasn't quite there.

For dessert we split what they called the chocolate bread pudding. As with the tuna, what we got is not something I would label bread pudding. This was a small, warm chocolate cake served with creme anglais and strawberry ice cream, meanwhile I think of bread pudding as pieces of bread baked in some kind of custard. None the less, the chocolate cake was delicious. I'm not a fan of extremely rich chocolate cakes and this was light and both crunchy on the edges and smooth and creamy inside.

The entire experience was fantastic. I felt like the food was some of the best in the city and the experience was very comfortable without being casual. My husband works right there and will definitely be taking business clients there for lunch from now on.

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  1. Thanks for a great report! I'll have to get over there soon.

    1. Also prompted by the Zimmern alarm, my wife and I lunched at Fugaise last week. Living in NE, we decided that we ought to cut back on our forays to other parts of town, when we have a superb option nearby that we want to support.

      While we've visited for dinner, this was our first lunch. I had the beet fettuchine with goat meatballs. It was excellent. A light, yet rich beet sauce (is that a contradiction?). And some nice chevre dotted on top --so, goat served two ways! My wife had the omelette, with roasted red peppers, leeks, and gruyere. Nice flavor combo, and well cooked. I really wanted to try the seafood risotto, but the server said, "The guys weren't happy with the seafood delivery this morning" so they replaced that item on the menu.

      It's a great deal for lunch. $12 for the fettucine and $8 for the omelette.

      There were 4 tables occupied during our meal. And if we're weren't mistaken, Alex Roberts from Alma was at one of them. We're assuming that he was taking a break from work on his new restaurant just down the street. Looking forward to that one, as well!

      7 Replies
      1. re: FireRev

        Funny - on Saturday they weren't serving the oysters because they weren't happy with the shipment. They might need to get a new seafood source!

        1. re: katebauer

          It might not be the quality that they're unhappy with - it could be the price.

          If they're doing as poorly as Zimmern seems to think they are, they could be cutting down on purchases of expensive items for dishes that don't sell particularly well.

          1. re: katebauer

            Oysters are out of season (there is no R in May) so that is more than believable. Better do just avoid the spawning little buggers for a few months ;)

            1. re: Foureyes137

              the majority of oysters that are available in restaurants these days are aqua-cultured, and non-spawning, so the "R-rule" does not really apply any longer. Though the flavor quality does decline somewhat as the water in which they are cultured warms up during the summer.

              1. re: djohnson22

                I'll go ahead and keep using it just in case.

                1. re: Foureyes137

                  Last time we went to Oceanaire I asked about the quality of the oysters because of the season and they told me the 'r' rule doesn't really apply anymore. But they could have just been trying to sell me oysters.

                  1. re: katebauer

                    Again, I'll go ahead and keep using it just in case.

        2. Good to hear. I've posted a few times about Fugaise. My experiences there have been great, though you definitely have to be in the mood for butter-based cuisine! :)

          1 Reply
          1. re: Jordan

            You know, I was worried with it being French influenced that we were in for a really heavy meal but ours turned out to be surprisingly light. The tuna ceviche had very little added fat and while perhaps there was butter in the chicken's pan sauce, I never felt like I was eating anything extremely heavy. I didn't feel sickeningly full like I have at Levain or La Belle Vie.

            As far as the oysters they definitely made it sound like they were unhappy with their quality when they came in that morning. I can't remember what exactly made me believe that to be the case, but that was my impression.