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Jun 7, 2007 11:53 AM

MSP: Cafe Levain Opens Tuesday 6/12

I was at Turtle Bread, and the menu is posted in the window. Everything is under $20, although still looks pretty good. Each entree comes with a choice of sides.

(sorry, I don't remember more details, but figured everyone would want a heads up)

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    1. Thanks ... I'll have to check it out. The Turtle Bread website never gets updated, so it's pretty useless.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jordan

        sounds dandy for folks in that neighborhood, but doesn't sound like much of a destination.

      2. To add a little more info...

        The menu looks to be mostly casual French classics. Coq au vin, roast chicken, duck leg confit, etc. They also make a hamburger for $10, a grilled hangar steak (with frites) for $18, a tagliatalle for $12 I think, and a few others. All entrees are under $18, and include a side dish.

        Living near the neighborhood, we're pretty excited for this to open up and see if it becomes more of a regular neighborhood bistro than the original incarnation of Levain.

        1. I'm very excited about this, since I never got to eat at the old Levain!

          Does anyone have the phone number for Cafe Levain? I can't seem to find any detailed reference on the web, and expect we'd need a reservation so soon after the opening.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Raka

            I just called the number for Turtle Bread -- 612-823-7333 -- and they put me through.

            1. re: Jordan

              Went last night. The place was not very busy, but that's not surprising since they haven't advertised yet. Food was good, prices very reasonable. We had two entrees (Copper River salmon for me!), 2 sides, and a bottle of wine and the bill only came to $66. The bread is great (understandably) and they serve little ramekins of toppings/sides with it before the meal - last night it was beets, a corn salsa, thinly sliced dill cucumbers, and fresh aioli. We will definitely be back.

              1. re: Jordan

                We went the first week of opening, so I am a little hesitant to post, as they were likely still working out the kinks (ie: our youngish server didn't seem well prepared to answer our questions about the wine list or food preparation).

                I'd never been to Levain when it was open before, and was pleasantly surprised by the dining room. They seem to have struck a nice chord between rustic country and modern. Also, they have a variety of tables, so that they can seat a large group (one table was set for fourteen!) as well as couples. There is an open kitchen across one side of the restaurant which adds to the liveliness. This was nice because it wasn't very crowded the first Friday it was open. When we were there, several groups brought young children, who were provided crayons to draw on the white paper covering the tablecloths. I thought this was a nice touch that allowed a diversity of clientele.

                Foodwise, it was fine, but not highly memorable. Their menu hits a nice price point -- all of the entrees (many of which sounded very good) were priced under $20, and each comes with a side dish. The wine list has several good options by the glass, and they offer a carafe of house wine (red or white), which is a tradition I love. Like chanley said, they had great bread with little ramekins of toppings that were fun. I ordered the roasted chicken and got a side of brussel sprouts. The brussel sprouts were good, but not as wonderful as the bacon roasted gems I've sampled at 112 eatery. The roast chicken was executed well -- I like the skin to still be crispy, with a tender, juicy inside -- however it wasn't very flavorful, even with the sauce. I also ordered dessert, but cannot recall what it was. Like I said, it was fine, but not memorable.

                But I am holding off on judgement yet, as it was the first week the place was open, and I really do like the dining room, price point, food selection and proximity to our home. I feel that Cafe Levain has a lot of potential, making it worth a second visit sometime in the future.

                1. re: Raka

                  I would like to echo these sentiments. The place has a ton of potential to be a nice addition to the neighborhood. The menu is great -- I felt like I could have ordered any of the entrees and enjoyed them -- which is a terrific trait for a neighborhood place that you might visit frequently. Nothing too daring, but just a whole bunch of classic French staples.

                  As Raka mentioned, their price point is at least a few dollars per entree below similar dishes at other places around town. I believe their most expensive entree was $18, and that was for a steak frites. (For comparison, Barbette's steak frites is... $29? Not knocking Barbette, just saying.) They have a nice wine list, a nice space, and a good location.

                  I don't fault them for the dishes coming out "good" instead of "mind blowing," just a few days after opening. I plan to return in maybe a month, after they've had some time to work on perfecting the details.

                  1. re: Chris Mitra

                    I can't seem to find a web page for this place - might give a try tonight. Does anyone know if they have - no luck on Google.

                    Cafe Levain
                    4762 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407

                    1. re: pgokey

                      I'm guessing they don't since the Turtle Bread page still references restaurant Levain: