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MSP former My T Fine-- now Agri? scoop?

s
soupkitten May 19, 2008 12:42 PM

the former my t fine still appears to still be closed, but the space has retained the old tables & chairs, equipment, etc. & has been sporting new signage: "agri, from field to table." googling has been of no help to me, and nobody in the biz seems to know who is running the new establishment. dh has speculated that the my t fine may have closed down temporarily, and is now opening as a new concept. does anybody have the scoop on this establishment, or know who is running "agri"?

  1. Foureyes137 May 19, 2008 12:52 PM

    My wife's office is actually right next door. Apparently these are former Aveda/Intelligent Nutrients guys (I believe my wife said they own/run Aura in Calhoun Square). Sounds like deli counter w/ table service in evenings focus on locally sourced similar in concept to Common Roots.

    1. bob s May 20, 2008 11:44 AM

      There was a blurb about Agri in the Southwest Journal, a community newspaper (http://www.swjournal.com/index.php?pu...

      )

      According to the story, the owner is Fabrizio Ciccone, who, as Foureyes137 noted, is the (an?) owner of Aura.

      From the article:

      "The 28-seat restaurant will serve healthy, sustainable, organic food, Ciccone said. He has also applied for a beer and wine license, but said his selection would include only six sustainable wines and four organic beers."

      I noticed a sign in the window a few weeks ago, but it was not open then. The article posted suggests they'll be trying to open by early June.

      There are more details in the article. I don't have time to paraphrase the whole thing and the moderators bounced an earlier post with a larger excerpt.

      I'm looking forward to checking the place out once it's up and running.

      [Edited for Grammar - bob s]

      1. s
        soupkitten May 20, 2008 12:28 PM

        all is now explained. thanks you guys.

        1. f
          fendel May 27, 2008 05:21 PM

          I drove by about an hour ago and the "Open" sign was illuminated... (I wonder how many other neighborhood 'hounds did automotive double-takes...)

          Anyone who goes, please post your impressions. Thanks!

          1. f
            fendel May 30, 2008 09:28 AM

            I parked the car and walked over to check out the menu (get a website, willya...). There were 5 or 6 each of starters, entrees, sides; other than a trout entree it was basically vegetarian.

            Bummer... if you're going to focus on sustainable food in Minneapolis, it seems a shame to ignore the beautiful locally raised, free-range, organic meats and poultry we have here. Indeed, this time of year, if you want local food, that's most of what's available. Eggs, beef, pork, chicken, turkey, eggs, cheese, honey. Oh yeah, and ramps, asparagus, and mushrooms. The list starts to look pretty skimpy if you omit the meat.

            1. Foureyes137 May 30, 2008 09:39 AM

              Website is up with menu and hours. Looks like a raw restaurant type menu. Dinner only for now. http://cafeagri.com/

              8 Replies
              1. re: Foureyes137
                Jordan May 30, 2008 11:46 AM

                Oh, I can't resist...

                Let's play Menu Match. The category is: Entree or Dessert?

                Item one: "BBQ la Pina. Caraway barbeque sauce, pineapple, peppers, red onion, fava beans and farro"

                Item two: "Strawberry-Eggplant Stuffed Figs: Balsamic-coconut sauce, lime zest, crunchy sprouted quinoa garnish."

                Can't tell? The pineapple dish is the entree. The eggplant dish is the dessert.

                I think I'm going to go somewhere else. And have a burger.

                1. re: Jordan
                  Foureyes137 May 30, 2008 01:04 PM

                  Heh, indeed it is appealing to a very specific crowd. They are in a good neighborhood to encounter said crowd though, I wish them luck...though the thought of a gluten-free grilled cheese is unfathomable.

                  1. re: Foureyes137
                    s
                    soupkitten May 30, 2008 02:36 PM

                    i'm all for clean simplicity when it comes to menu descriptions, but they need to do a little better fleshing out just what menu items like "beans and grain" and "jicama strips" are, and why we should want to purchase and consume them. y'know?

                    in all seriousness, anyone who tries this place, please post :)

                    1. re: Foureyes137
                      z
                      zennenn May 30, 2008 07:48 PM

                      I don't know why gluten free grilled cheese is unfathomable - people like me with celiac disease might want to have a grilled cheese sandwich in a restaurant! I'm glad you mentioned it - this place is now on my list of must-try restaurants.

                      1. re: zennenn
                        Foureyes137 May 31, 2008 10:49 AM

                        A grilled cheese at it's most basic has two ingredients...if you can name them, you can see why this seems silly.

                        However, I will most certainly eat here and I will try it.

                    2. re: Jordan
                      f
                      fendel May 30, 2008 09:14 PM

                      Jordan, I'm with you. I can think of a number of places in town where I can get a burger made from locally raised, sustainable beef.

                      They claim "local, homegrown Minnesotan ingredients"; would that be the jicama or the pineapple? Eggplant? Mango? Tofu?

                      "Our focus is eating great food grown locally using sustainable methods." I don't see much local food on that menu right now. And "seasonal fruit" in late May in Minnesota is an oxymoron. It boggles my mind that someone is trying to do a locavore pesco-vegetarian restaurant in a climate where nothing green grows between October and April.

                      I hope they find their audience. It's not me... Minnesota-grown mangoes (in May!) aside, I find the food combos pretty freaky: "Hazelnut Asparagus & Seared Maple Tofu / Tamari, citrus, chipotle and kiwi marinade, coconut purple rice." The place is five blocks from my house, so I have been fervently hoping for the best, but this is not my kind of menu. Major bummer.

                      1. re: fendel
                        bob s May 30, 2008 10:00 PM

                        I take and agree with your point about promoting themselves as a locavore restaurant. But in it's defense, the eggplant and tofu could conceivably be local. ;-)

                        Besides, you can always think of the menu as an exotic type of cuisine to explore. This place never claimed to be a place for locally raised sustainable beef. They only have to justify their menu to their customers. The market will say whether there's a place for a menu like this one.

                        I'm a little wary of the menu trying too hard, but will give them a chance to prove themselves. Also, there is a chance that they'll have to modify their menu if it proves to be too "out there."

                        So keep your eye on the place. Whether or not you like the cuisine, it's little spots like this one that help keep our dining scene varied and active. I'm planning on giving them a try or two. I'll report back after I go.

                        1. re: bob s
                          t
                          tex.s.toast May 30, 2008 10:56 PM

                          at least when it comes to the jicama strips description it seems as though they arent trying too hard, but rather that they arent trying at all:

                          "Soft and chewy, sweet and sour - available vegan or vegetarian, spicy or mild."

                          this may be the least useful description of a food item ive ever seen. where to begin? who would ever expect a dish featuring jicama to have a description beginning with the word "soft"? what do they do to it to get it that way, puree it? then how can it be chewy?

                          sweet and sour. not the neon red steam-table chinese version, right? does available vegetarian or vegan mean? is it normally prepared not to be either of those (is there fish in those jicama strips?) or are those just the options. spicy or mild? if theyre telling me they make them spicy and if one wanted they could be made mild thats one thing, but this choose-your-own-adventure jicama strips thing is just plain confusing.

                          if anyone makes it there and wants to report back on what, exactly, this dish consists of, id be very appreciative.

                  2. Jordan Jun 23, 2008 01:56 PM

                    There's a "first look" sort of post on the City Pages blog this week. The reviewer doesn't make it sound too appealing. Has anyone from the board been there yet?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Jordan
                      f
                      fendel Jun 26, 2008 06:17 PM

                      Jeremy Iggers had an interesting piece on Rakemag about Agri... (are URLs allowed here? rakemag dot com...)

                      1. re: fendel
                        Jordan Dec 24, 2008 04:12 AM

                        Bump. I see they've expanded/updated their menu. There is still almost nothing they offer that sounds appealing to me. Has anyone actually tried this place yet?

                        1. re: Jordan
                          f
                          faith Dec 27, 2008 11:59 AM

                          I haven't been there yet- just looked at their dinner menu and have
                          to say it sounds good to me, but I could see it wouldn't appeal to
                          the average foodie who was not also interested in healthier versions
                          of gourmet food. I have to say this new version sounds better to me than
                          the older one. I will report when I do go there.

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