Jfood Returns to 112 Eatery (MSP) - The Great and Not So
It’s Jfood's last week this year in MSP and with two openings for dinners he first tried again for a seat at the bar at 112 Eatery, and this time he was successful (Bar La Grassa was in the Garmin as Plan B). When Jfood arrived, there were four people already seated at the bar so Jfood grabbed his normal seat at the end and settled in, book in hand, for an anticipated great meal.
When the bartender arrived he asked Jfood if he planned on dinner or just drinks. Jfood asked for a glass of water and since he knew already knew his appetizer choice; he immediately ordered a half-order of the pasta with foie gras meatballs.
The bartender brought utensils and some bread and butter plus a nice big glass of water. Jfood loves the bread at 112, always warm, a nice crispy outside and the butter is a very nice accompaniment. Jfood decided earlier that his first choice at either restaurant would be the pork so as he studied the menu his only decision was to gorge or not to gorge and order the gnocchi as a side dish as well. What the heck? He ordered the pork tenderloin and the gnocchi.
It was good that Jfood brought a book since it was probably 15 minutes before his pasta arrived. The book kept him busy for the duration and as he looked around, the crowd was having a great time so no one seemed to mind; lots of fun conversations occurring.. Just a head’s up on the delay, no biggie.
The pasta and meatballs arrived and they were presented differently than Jfood remembered from his previous visits. They were now served in a soup bowl. It also appeared that the number of meatballs was less than previously, but he was not sure if it was his memory, the new plate or he was just wrong. Jfood took his first bite of the meatball. It was good but did not have that sharp taste that Jfood loved in previous encounters. So Jfood moved to the pasta, swirled some onto the fork, or should he say tried to swirl onto the fork. The wheels fell of the truck. The pasta was overcooked, gloppy, and sticky. After his first bite he would also add flavorless to the mix. None of the flavors that Jfood loved in the past were present. After a couple of bites he considered sending this dish back but after the events of his undelivered burger on his last visit he decided to continue and eat the dish, hoping it would improve. It never did. In fact with Jfood last bite of the pasta his head snapped back with the amount of salt that hit his tongue. The dish was a mess. When asked by the bartender, Jfood did mention his comments and the bartender later told Jfood that he passed the comments onto the kitchen.
Jfood returned to his book and the pork and gnocchi arrived in a nice time delay from the completion of the pasta.
Tentatively, Jfood placed a few of the gnocchi onto his fork, took a deep breath and into his mouth. Yippee!! They were perfect. They were so delicately prepared that if you tried to poke with the tines of the fork they collapsed. You needed to use your fork in a spoon fashion and scoop each of the pieces. The flavor was great, the texture was outstanding and the cheese on top made this dish absolutely perfect. Jfood took a major breath in relief and happiness that he finally had a dish worthy of the 112 lineage. Next Jfood moved onto the pork. This dish was presented with three medallions each slightly larger than a golf ball. They were set into a sauce with vegetables that Jfood decided not to identify, but just enjoy. The pork was presented at medium doneness, still a light pink tinge at the core, just the way Jfood likes. Jfood sliced a piece of pork plus some of the sauce. A big smile crossed Jfood's face. This dish was just delightful. The pork was perfectly cooked, seasoned perfectly and the sauce was a nice addition. For as bad as the pasta was, these two dishes were great. Jfood worked his way through each blissful bite of the pork and the gnocchi. Disappointment finally hit Jfood when he realized that both dishes were completed. He yearned for more. As they say, always leave them wanting more, and these two dishes accomplished that adage.
In conclusion, Jfood continues to recommend 112 Eatery as an A-Lister with a caveat, definitely stay away from the pasta and foie gras meatballs unless others report on the boards that they have recently enjoyed this dish. That dish used to rank as one of Jfood favorites in MSP, now it is probably a “never again.” On the other end of the spectrum, Jfood wholeheartedly recommends the pork and continues to recommend the gnocchi. The service this time was great from the bartender so that part of the recommendation still remains as hit or miss from the visits Jfood experienced over the last year.
Happy Holidays to all the MSP Hounds.
We must have hit them on an "on" night back in November as the foie gras meatballs were dynamite and the pasta was not a tangled mess that I imagine such delicate ribbons would become if mishandled. As earlier reported, my only miss of the night was the cauliflower fritters. Not bad, just very plain. Perhaps a sauce would have livened the plate up a bit. There food strikes me as being the type that can derail if full attention to details is not being given in the kitchen. Such is the case with truly stellar preparations, the ingredients and execution have to be spot on or you end up with a mediocre (or worse) rendition. Happy Holidays and GO VIKINGS !!