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Aug 28, 2008 07:09 PM

Jfood in MSP - Corner Table - Nice Suggestion

Corner Table in Minneapolis was a pleasant dinner after a really long day. Jfood needs to characterize this small, very cute restaurant as one that has a lot of potential. The restaurant has 36 seats plus an additional 6 at the bar overlooking the open kitchen.

The web site menu was the one presented to Jfood and he ordered the Gnocchi with garlic, arugula, goat cheese for an appetizer and the Lamb with Israeli couscous, fennel, oven dried tomato, roasted corn as an entrée. Several specials were also described.

While Jfood was waiting the waiter was kind enough to bring a little sample of the Corn soup, parsley, castle rock cream, hope creamery butter topped with tomato relish in an espresso cup. The soup was creamy (no kidding with pureed corn, cream and butter) and had a nice flavor although the corn never really took control of the dish. The tomato relish on top was very rich in flavor and if this is ordered the flavor is much better as it approaches room temperature. Jfood would give this dish a 6.

A few nice slices of bread were next delivered with a slug of butter. This was the first uptick that the restaurant could use. If you are cooking with the butter, a slug is fine to throw in the pan but try to have a little more pride when serving to a customer. The bread could also have benefited from a little warmth. Overall it was an OK, typical bread and butter.

The gnocchi arrived and Jfood stared a little at it. He was expecting the normal simmered gnocchi with some garlic and arugula. Instead the chef sautéed the cheese, not potato, gnocchi and garlic and placed the arugula and goat cheese on top. If the gnocchi is not potato, it is a good idea to place this fact on the menu. Now the taste. Arugula was very nice, not too bitter, perfectly dressed. With the first taste of the gnocchi, Jfood was brought back to casa Jfood and mrs Jfood’s cheese blintzes. Unfortunately in cooking, the chef compressed them and the only thing Jfood could think of was please do not do this to gnocchi or to hamburgers. Jfood would give this dish a 6-7 for a nice flavor and a nice twist.

The lamb was next on the table. It was nicely sliced atop the couscous, et. al. The first thing Jfood noticed was the doneness, very rare on one end and medium on the other. And unfortunately there was a tendon/sinew going right through the middle. This made for an extremely uncomfortable eating experience. First it was difficult to cut and then even harder to chew. This is not within the chef’s total control, but there was also a very wide range of seasoning on the meat. Jfood’s first bite snapped his head back it was so salty and then other slices had none. The sage also overpowered the other ingredients in the couscous. The dish was good but would benefit from a little more attention from the chef. Jfood can only give this dish a 5.

The server was very nice and he tried a little too hard in some aspects and failed a bit in others. Please ask the doneness desired in the lamb. He checked in properly, asked if more bread was required, but when Jfood’s entrée was 2/3 completed, he approached and asked if Jfood wanted some coffee. It was very nice but a little out of place. But Jfood would never ding a server for being too attentive, just a point of reference.

All of this for $39 including tax and tip.

Although there were issues, this small little owner-operated restaurant is a nice and relaxing bistro type neighborhood place. For the meal Jfood would give the meal a 6. Good, but needs some attentiveness.

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  1. thanks for the review of CT. haven't been recently, and it's a little spot that lots of people report great experiences with. myself, i haven't ever had a meal that was great from beginning to end there-- the salad was off, or the main, or the pudding didn't come off totally, though some elements worked and were great. msp has scads of small chef-driven restaurants like CT that source locally and shoot for high quality. since it sounds like you liked the ambiance and some of the food at CT, i'm going to put down some similar types of places in the area:

    Lucia's Restaurant
    1432 W 31st St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

    1600 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

    Cafe Maude
    5411 Penn Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55419

    Blackbird Cafe
    3800 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55409

    2903 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408

    Cafe Levain
    4762 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407

    3 Replies
    1. re: soupkitten

      Thanks SK

      Back from 9/8-11 so will give some of these a try. Just had a wonderful tomato/mozzy and paparadelle and rabbit back home with some close friends, so jfood's mood is food-related high at the moment.

      1. re: soupkitten

        I'm posting to both second SK's recommendations and to add a places link to Corner Table.

        Thanks for the review!

        1. re: bob s

          Drat! Didn't link.

          Corner Table
          4257 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409

      2. I think we mentioned Heartland before. I will reiterate it because I think you would like it.

        1. Sorry your experience wasn't as good as you hoped. That having been said I go to CT with some regularity so either they got a new waiter that I haven't met yet or Scott, the owner, served you.

          1 Reply
          1. re: frittering_away

            Ate at 112 eatery last week and I think it'd be up your alley. Had the best Gnocchi I've had since Italy; buttery, perfect texture with cheese and just a bit of chopped flat parsley. Classic and simple. A group of 4 shared a bunch of things..Along with the Gnocchi we also had the Foie Gras Salad. Again really unfussy and right on with frisee, soft cooked eggs and a very light sherry? vinaigrette. Had cauliflower fritters which this same group had had at Lupa in NYC. We all agreed the version at Lupa was better, the one at 112 is basically just the flash fried cauliflower served with lemon wedges. The dish at Lupa has capers and little crumbs of this insane, slightly crystally pecorino. The Lupa version is legendary and sort of a holy grail with this group so it doesn't diminish the 112 version. Had the Tagliatelle with foie gras meatballs..the Tagliatelle was a little too limp for me but the meatballs were outrageously good if very rich.They had a texture that somehow still maintained the integrity of their foie gras-ness. They kind of evaporate on your tongue. This dish is kind of their specialty or at least the one that always gets raves by reviewers.

            For dessert a Creme Caramel; you'll just have to try it. Not really a major dessert person but this was Caramel interlaced with little hawaiian sea salt grains and sweet creme served in layers in a parfait glass.We all just kept taking spoonfulls and looking at eachother like can you even believe how good this is??

          2. I want to like CT...I want to LOVE it, since it is, on paper, everything I support.
            I've eaten there 3x, and everytime been disappointed.
            On my last visit, we had some interesting and well-priced northwest wines, appropriately defined by our capable server.
            The food, underwhelming.
            In fact, my dinner companion had an entree that lacked one of its main components, chorizo, and when it was pointed out, a plate of sliced chorizo (!) was brought out of the kitchen for her to.....what, we don't know.
            Chef came out and attempted to charm his way out of it. A mistake, hahaha.
            I will give them another chance, given all the accolades.
            Now tell me why I should give Heartland the same retry after a REALLY mediocre at best meal.