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MSP Victory 44 - A New Beginning?

My wife and I stopped in at Victory 44 on Saturday. We had eaten there a couple of times, and liked their decent pub fare. But we were in for a big surprise. A great surprise!

The menus are gone. All the items are now written on a couple of big chalkboards. They've kept a few of the previous dishes (fish & chips, bangers & mash). But most of what's offered is new. The listings on the board are pretty basic, and just as we were speculating about them, a guy who looked like a cook showed up at our table to take our order. As he started describing the dishes, our jaws dropped. This was not the pub fare. We just ordered the first three things on the top of the list, and let the cooking begin:

BEET & ORANGE is how the first course was titled. Little squares of orange lined up like a row of tiles. Along side them were a couple of deep red ribbons. But as we started to eat, we began laughing out loud. The orange squares were the beets! And the red ribbons were the orange! (Blood orange gelee, we later learned). We love that kind of humor in our dining. It was a very refreshing start to the meal.

LAMB SHOULDER was three pieces of lamb, perfectly cooked sous-vide style. I don't think they were using an immersion circulator when they doing mostly fish & chips and burgers! It was accompanied by a bean puree, and a balsamic reduction. But I don't remember much because my wife loved the dish so much she would hardly let me near it.

CHICKEN CORDON BLEU This was a wonderful deconstructed version of the tired classic. Two pieces of chicken, again cooked sous-vide, and then seared to a nice crisp. Inside were some strips of ham. The cheese, usually on the inside of the stuffed chicken breast, was alongside, as a creamy gruyere sauce. And the breading that is supposed to be on the outside of the chicken, showed up as a coating for a crunchy brioche toast. Add a couple of browned brussels sprouts, and it made for a dish that was out of this world.

TRES LECHES CAKE We were a little reluctant to try dessert. By now, it was obvious that the guy delivering our food was a serious chef, and we couldn't believe that someone who cooked like that would do desserts well. They leave that to pastry chefs. We figured that he would have brought in desserts from somewhere else. He was pretty low-key about describing the three on offer, but without much probing, it became obvious that he was high on the tres leches. What we got was not at all a traditional version like from our Mexican bakeries (I'm partial to Durango's). But it was fantastic. It was another clever interpretation, with the cake separated from the sauces. The cake was moist by itself. And the sauces included all the taste of the traditional version. Add to that a bit of chocolate mousse and some leaves of dark chocolate, and we were in heaven!

At the end of the meal the chef chatted with us a bit. Turns out that he's only been at the restaurant for a few weeks, having been brought in as chef de cuisine. He's gradually adding these creative dishes, and wants to go even further in that direction. I asked him where else he's cooked, and he said all over: NYC, Napa Valley, Pacific NW. When I got home, I Googled him. His name is James Winberg, and he was chef-owner of a place in Washington state that was getting some serious press a couple years ago. He's a Minnesota native who has just returned. And this is what he's doing. Putting out some incredible food in this low-key pub in North Minneapolis.

Right now, it's just James and another cook doing everything, cooking and serving. It's great fun to have them bring out our food and tell us about what they've whipped up for us. It's also ridiculously cheap. Our entire bill was $33.00! I'm not exaggerating to say this meal was of La Belle Vie quality. We can't wait to get back!

Victory 44
2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

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  1. Great review, Rev! Sounds like you hit the victory jackpot!

    1 Reply
    1. re: faith

      Not only that, but I forgot to mention the amuse of chicharrones with yuzu cheese dip, and also the taste of the desert we did not choose, a meringue and coconut treat.

      Jackpot indeed!

    2. What the? I was there less than two weeks ago. I did notice some changes to the menu. I had the pate of the day, which was new, and quite good, but the staples (fish and chips, the perfect burger, the reuben, scotch egg) were there, as well as the breakfast options.

      I have to say, I'd be bummed to lose the burger and the reuben, both of which rate among the best in Minneapolis. I hope the new menu doesn't outpace the aesthetic of the NoMi clientele.

      I now burn with curiosity.

      7 Replies
      1. re: kevin47

        I heard the chef tell other tables that the burger and reuben were both still available, even though they weren't listed on the board. Breakfast options are gone. He told us that the brunch business just wasn't happening.

        It will be interesting to see how he balances the creative with the more basic options. I was trying to watch the reactions of other diners, but Minnesotans don't give much away!

        My 12-year-old loved that Perfect Burger, too. But he's excited about the new possibilities. Granted, he told me that when he had free computer time last week at school, he went to the El Bulli website. So maybe he's not so typical!

        1. re: FireRev

          I hope it's still open for lunch. That place is my second office.

          I understand about the brunch. They were doing some great stuff, but if a tree falls in the forest and all that. The burger an reuben were keepers, though.

          I dunno. I'm tired of the revolving door at that location, and with all the buzz I thought V-44 really had something going. Maybe the new chef signifies confidence that real food can find a place on the North side.

          1. re: kevin47

            Had dinner here last night and was equally impressed. I'm excited to go back and try the other items on the menu. Everything was so good. Would have liked to order dessert but I was so full.

            We ordered the Scotch Egg for an appetizer. It was delicious. Different from any I've ever tried. The yolk was runny and the bread crumbed egg sat on top of the sausage. It was so good. I will go back just for this.

            I also ordered the Chicken Cordon Bleu. I thought it was great too...the portion is perfect and matches the price. I thought everything was ridiculously inexpensive. 2 beers, the scotch egg, the chicken cordon bleu, a perfect burger and coffee and our bill came to $37. Very impressive.

            Our waiter did say the burger and reuben were staying and I noticed a few other items from the old menu. Next time I'm going to try the devils on horseback.

            Our server was perfect...friendly and casual and was prepared to talk about anything on the menu and very interested in our feedback.

            A neighborhood gem!

            1. re: Bobannon

              I made it back for lunch today. It looks like they retained the best of the old menu, but I wanted to embrace the new, so I ordered the Apple, Cheddar and ale soup and the cordon bleu deconstruction.

              These were prefaced by a sampling of amuse bouches, which made me feel a bit dumb for having brought my computer... I took these to be items the chef is playing with for menu inclusion.

              The first was a take on potato leek soup, with a potato crisp wafer embedded in a tea cup of cream with neon green leek. The soup was earthy and grounded, and I like to drink soup. A winner.

              The second confounded me. It was a puff of some sort, nestled on (I think) a dollop of creme fraiche meringue, accompanied by a snippet of the Devils on a horseback app, sprinkled with a bit of powdered sugar. It was excellent, whatever it was.

              The third was a standout, a spoonful of swedish meatball. A nice acidic punch, which is hard to accomplish in this dish. I'd love to see that make a regular rotation.

              To the stuff I ordered. The soup was excellent. The "ale" is represented with a splash of foam on top, and the execution hits every promised note.

              The cordon bleu? I dunno. The chef recommended this to me, and I don't want to be a spoil sport, cause the dish is a lot of fun. But why deconstruct this dish so literally? It tasted exactly like a solid chicken cordon bleu, but shouldn't deconstruction introduce something new to a banquet staple?

              I tasted a lot of great stuff, and I'll be interested to see how the new chef squares innovation with V-44's already well earned reputation as a gastropub with a British vibe. Clearly, it is aiming to be a destination restaurant that merits a trip to the difficult locale.

              By my lights, it hits the mark, but I'm not the one who has to do the travelling.

              1. re: kevin47

                Dara wrote about the new start on her blog:


                Last week I had the tofu dish she writes about. It was really cool. Even better was the lentil soup...the best I've ever had. It included a marvelous piece of fork tender pork and a soft poached egg. Rich, but wonderful.

                I still can't get over the food that's coming out of this kitchen. It's creative and wonderful. I'm actually reluctant to eat anywhere else right now. This place is going to get all my dining dollars, both because I want to give it my business to keep it going, but also because this is exactly my kind of food! (and they're almost giving it away, it's so cheap) This place is a godsend for me!

                1. re: FireRev

                  OK FireRev, this is a first for this board............someone saying a tofu dish was 'really cool'..........Really, I love tofu, too bad I'm allergic to soy, I could eat raw tofu out of the package......... sounds like a place I need to get to.

                  1. re: FireRev

                    It has been a godsend since it opened. It's funny that the chefs are saving tips to buy a blender.

                    By and large, I am enthused about the direction. I am worried that this will soon become an evening-only joint.

        2. Thanks to everyone for your support as we change up a few of things we offer at victory 44, but I do want to assure everyone as we change and push the envelope with a little more progressive food, I want you to be assured that we will not ever take away our reuben or perfect burger. In fact you will always find the Victory 44 "classics" on our new blackboards. Thanks again.......chef Erick

          1. We frequented the place mostly for weekend brunch back before they dropped the amazingly fantastic banana french toast from the menu.

            We went back this weekend, and had the Tofu dish Dara wrote about, a salad, and the sirloin with pappardelle, as well as the tres leches cake and the molten chocolate cake.

            We loved the concept, and the food. Everything was about 10 bucks, and in tasting sized portions. The people who ordered a tasting menu seemed to get even better stuff.

            There was one waitress working, so not ALL the servers have been cut out. We asked the waitress about vegetarian options, and she promised to have "one of the guys" come out. When he did, he described the Tofu dish, and said, "If you want, we could also do a pasta with vegetables."

            That is my absolute least favorite restaurant vegetarian cop-out. For a chef driven place, we really expected more. 112 Eatery has done a nice job with that in the past, making a plate that combines some of the best sides. I'm not expecting a chef to invent a new dish on the fly, but I do expect a place that boasts "everyone is a chef" to come up with something better.

            Overall, we really enjoyed the meal, and I hope this iteration of the place makes it. It is a great room, and the food has always matched in quality. Demand is the issue, and I fear it will continue to be. It is just too hard for the South Minneapolis crowd to think about coming north. (And, something needs to be done about restaurants that only offer pasta with veggies to the non-meat eating crowd.)

            112 Eatery
            112 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

            Victory 44
            2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

            1. I convinced some friends from St. Paul (and my wife) to trek up to Victory-44 on Friday to check it out. I had probably the best meal that I've eaten in over a year there. Full stop.

              I went in, thinking I'd follow my usual dietary preferences these days - namely, seafood or vegetarian. But something about the tasting menu drew me away. One of my friends and I decided to go for the 5-course tasting menu.

              The table started with an amuse of fig and bacon. After our order, a second round of amuses consisting of potato-leek soup with leek oil arrived at the table in shot glasses. (Kevin47 gave a description above.)

              The tasting menu began with the beet and orange salad described above.

              The salad was followed by my favorite course of the evening, agnolotti filled with duck liver. There probably 10 small agnolotti sitting in a foam of butter and parmesan cheese, surrounded by liberal swipes of a rutabega sauce and Tasmanian honey.

              Next up was a scallop with saffron rutabega sauce and polenta fries. It was an amazing course as well. (My wife's course arrived at this time. It was several pieces of sirloin, nicely cooked, along with a nice side of pasta.)

              The last dinner course on the tasting menu was a nice piece of braised pork belly accompanied by a pave of sweet potatoes and a crisped piece of sweet potato. The pave was surrounded by a creamy sauce infused with 18-year old whiskey and pieces of citrus. It was amazing how the flavors burst out of the dish.

              Before dessert was served, a "pre-dessert" with tastes of meringue, homemade marshmellow, and something else. (By this time, I was overwhelmed with the variety of tastes and textures, so I've lost some of the details.) Dessert was the tres leches cake describe above, along with citrus toffee (probably candied orange peel broken in to crumbles.)

              All through the meal, we were chatting off and on with the owner and other chefs. It was a relaxed meal, but an enjoyable and delicious evening. The bill, before tip was about $125 for the tasting menu for 2, another three dishes for our wives, and 7 or 8 beers and glasses of wine.

              Like FireRev, I'm very excited to head up there again and explore the menu. I'm also going to enjoy supporting this place for as long as I can.

              1. I must agree with the original post. My wife and I ate there on Friday and were truly impressed.

                Our appetizer was the steak tartar. Mixed with soft poached egg, mustard, and infused with truffle. Simply delicious.

                I wish I could describe the dessert that we had as well, but I don't know how to describe it. I can simply say it a amazing. Some type of of deconstructed plate with sugar crystalized herb, ginger infused ice, and cookie.

                I think the comparison to 112 eatery is fair, and will definitely be returning asap.

                We had the seared pork belly and sirloin with parpardel. The steak was well sized and cooked with the homemade pasta. The pork belly tasted equally delicious.

                1. I went to Victory 44 for dinner last night and I'm glad I did.

                  I walked in at 8:30 to see the room ~2/3 full. There was no one at the bar, so I bellied up. From the start, I liked the feel of the place; daily chalkboard menu with 4 guys acting as chef/servers. After looking through the dozen or so choices, I ended up with beef tartar to start and the perfect burger to finish.

                  KyleThomas' description of the tartar is right on. A generous (full burger pattie sized) portion of tartar with a soft poached egg (halved), two toasts, a swipe of hot mustard, a little pile of pickled veggies and a home made concoction I can't recall (little asian slaw/salad of some sort...kimchi, maybe?). Anyways, this was one of the best tartare plates I've ever had. The beef was wonderfully seasoned, the egg was excellent, the mustard had the perfect amount of heat and the toasts were spot on. This would be a great appetizer for two or a hungry man like me.

                  On to the burger. After seeing the quality of the tartar, I wasn't scared to order a burger medium rare (which I almost never do anywhere else). I should have asked about all the elements, but I didn't. From what I saw, it was topped with bacon and cheese (a hardish white cheese, which did end up melting nicely), with a sauce of some sort and thin sliced pickles on the bottom. The burger had a nice sear on both sides and was super juicy in the middle. Home run. And the fries were excellent too.

                  Next time I'm in, I think I'll go for one of the tasting menus (5 for $30 or 7 for $40?)

                  If I didn't live damn near 30 minutes away, I'd be at this place multiple times a week. What a gem.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: BigE

                    what time does it really close? their website was pretty ambiguous about what time they really closed... 11am-close i drove past there after 9 on monday and they looked closed, no one in there, chairs on tables lights off

                    1. re: wannabfat

                      From the vibe I got, they close whenever things die down for the night.

                      When I left on Tuesday (a little after 9), there were still 10 or so people in the place.

                  2. Stopped by for a late lunch.

                    The tartare is a knockout. The kimchi is a great balance to this sort of living steak and eggs.

                    The scallop and chorizo is all decadence. The dish includes a bit of carrot and some root veggies, as well myriad foam/sauce accoutrements. Most of the dishes skew toward deconstruction, and this dish does the exercise justice.

                    Funny story... The staff went downstairs to take a phone call. In the interim, the flat-bread in the oven burned to a crisp, and I was left waiting for a line to open up so I could pay. No worries, though; the staff comped a beer, and the phone call was well worth taking.

                    And where do I begin about the price points? They make you feel guilty.

                    There are some brave choices on this menu, and the place continues to execute at a very high level. By my lights, Victory 44 has grown from a great restaurant worth advocating on a neighborhood level to a destination restaurant. It is the real deal. Go.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: kevin47

                      just got done here, i must say the burger was very good, the pickles made it worth it
                      im going to have to come back and try the Scottish egg

                      might have found my new favorite spot though, the way the waiter/staff talked about the food, i could tell they were foodies! "burger cooked in its own emulsified fat" LOL LOVE IT im going back later this week, maybe tomorrow night

                      1. re: wannabfat

                        what does that mean, 'emulsified fat'? did they do something to the fat to emulsify it?

                        1. re: faith

                          I'm with you faith, unless something was IN the fat...it makes no sense that the fat is "emulsified". As far as I know emulsification is the joining of two liquids that wouldn't otherwise mix....and aren't all burgers cooked in their own fat?

                          Sorry, I just hate it when waiters (and I guess in this case; cooks) try to sound smart and say something ridiculous and sound silly.

                    2. Back to Victory 44 last night with my sister and her fiancee.

                      We had to belly up for a while until a table opened, so we shared the tartare. My only complaint versus the last time was the bread. This week, it was a sort of baked flat bread that had huge bubbles in it. Not quite as easy to use as the crostini of last time. Minor gripe.

                      On to the meal. We opted for the 5 course tasting menu. I got my own and the other 2 split one. By the end, we had taken quite the culinary journey.

                      The meal started with an amuse. A little mug of sunchoke soup with a leek...paste (not sure what to call it) lining the rim. The soup was outstanding. Warm, velvety smooth and creamy. Great start. The amuse also contained a single bite item (served on a soup spoon) that consisted of fig (I think), bacon powder and a little chip on top. The flashes of creativity in flavor and plating had just begun.

                      First course was bass ceviche, although it ended up being presented as a tartare. 4 little mounds of bass, mixed with spring onion and covered with micro cilantro and 'apple compressed with citrus'. Really nice, clean flavor to this dish and beautifully presented. The cilantro brought it to another level. I didn't even use the bread (same bread as the beef tartare).

                      Second course was duck liver agnolotti. For those not familiar (I wasn't), agnolotti is a smaller ravioli. The pasta was surrounded by an herb butter, arugula (puree or sauce?), parmesan froth and another white sauce which I can't recall. Another nice course. Nice, tender meat that didn't have a strong liver taste. By the end, I was looking for a nice piece of bread to sop up the remaining sauces.

                      Third course was banger and mash with onion gravy. Don't let the subject fool you, this was just as well done as the previous dishes. The mash was pureed to a perfect consistency (and went very well with the slightly sweet gravy) and the banger had a great flavor. This also came with a crisped potato skin. Simple ingredients but very well done.

                      Fourth was a nice, simply cooked piece of striped bass. This came with a puffed piece of skin on top, which tasted exactly as a piece of fried fish skin would taste. Still, I had never seen it before. Along side the fish were a few pieces of gnocchi and some sauteed veg (carrots, garlic, mushrooms). The gnocchi had a great pillowy texture with a nice sear on one side. The fish was perfectly cooked as well.

                      Fifth was the sirloin and pappardelle. The pasta came with a light, creamy sauce and was topped with parm and fried leeks and mushrooms. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare and sat sliced on an herb creme fraiche. This was a heavy course, but being the last, it wrapped the savory portion up nicely. The pasta was nicely al dente. Not sure about the steak; it could have used a little more seasoning and I'm not sure I would have put it on top of creme fraiche. Again, minor gripes.

                      Now, on to dessert. We were started with what they called 'pre-dessert'. This was a long, thin plate consisting of a 'meringue popsicle', polenta cookie, brownie, and wild rice and peanut crispie all sitting on whipped cream (1 piece of each for the 3 of us). Oh my goodness. As an individual bite, that wild rice crispie was out of this world.

                      Just when we thought we were done, the real dessert arrived. This looked like a dessert platter that we would be picking from, but instead, it was all ours. It consisted of: chocolate mousse, rocky road encased in chocolate ganache, meringue with candied walnuts, cheesecake (minus the crust), and tres leches cake (topped with a hard piece of chocolate). To put the last flourish on the night, a torch was used on the meringue and the chocolate after it was brought to the table.

                      Whew...I'm sure I forgot a few things, but what a night. Great flavors from start to finish, and every dish is beautiful. Notice how there were actually 6 (well, more like 8 including the amuse and 2 desserts) courses there? All of that for $30. If there is a better dining deal in town, I haven't found it.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: BigE

                        all that for $30?! The desserts alone made me want to go (but I have a sweet tooth :)

                        1. re: Ummm

                          I can't imagine a better dining deal in town.

                          And the dessert platter just seals it. Not everything on it is a complete home run, but the presentation is wonderful. Be warned, this thing is humongous. Best for a group of 4 or more.

                          1. re: BigE

                            Just went tonight and had the dessert platter. It became a four man cage fight.

                            Also, the lobster pasta is a new high point. Slices of fresh jalapeno were an inspired choice.

                            I'm waiting for everyone to get sick of this place being bumped to the top.

                      2. Just ate there tonight. What a great surprise! From the outside you'd have no idea what you're getting into. The menu was creative, and it seemed like the food was prepared by people who enjoy food.

                        We had the "Devils on a Horseback" for an appetizer -- dates wrapped in bacon. Very tasty.

                        We split the charcuterie, a collection of different meat dishes (pate, head cheese, etc.). It was good, but a bit much for the two of us -- it wound up being a lot of the same texture. I think I'll try this again when I go back with guests, but probably not for just two.

                        We also split a foie gras hot dog -- just because the idea of putting foie gras on a hot dog seemed so over-the-top. Before we got it we thought, "Who would put foei gras on a hot dog?" And after we had it we thought, "Why hasn't anybody else thought of putting foie gras on a hot dog?"

                        We're sold. Next time back, we tackle the tasting menu.

                        18 Replies
                        1. re: djtrouten

                          They have a foie hot dog? Oh boy. I had the famous duck sausage with foie at Hot Dougs in Chicago and have been craving something similar since I left.

                          Looks like I might be going to Victory tonight.

                          1. re: BigE

                            There's no bigger booster of Victory 44 than me, but I have to say that I did not love the foie dog. For me, the slices of foie were overwhelmed by the hot dog. Don't get me wrong, it was a fine hot dog. It's house made, of course. But all I got was the taste of hot dog.

                            My wife, on the other hand, was over the moon. But she's a foie fanatic. She'd put it on popcorn, if given half a chance.

                            We had the tasting menu a couple days ago. I think the current standout is the Lamb Tartare.

                            Victory 44
                            2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

                            1. re: FireRev

                              I don't see the Tasting Menu on their site. Is it just things on the current menu, or is it a la minute? If I asked for a Veg Tasting Menu, could they do it?

                              1. re: semanticantics

                                The tasting menu is $30 for five courses and $40 for seven, +$15 for wine pairings. I'm pretty sure they make it up as they go, and I'm almost positive they can accommodate veg.

                                1. re: kevin47

                                  I would call ahead to confirm what they can do for vegetarians. While k47 is correct that they make it up as they go, in my two experiences with the tasting menu, the courses were primarily courses that were served on the menu.

                                  1. re: bob s

                                    I'll give them a call. I had inquired to Meritage with a similar request and the chef (answered personally) said they could take care of me. I'm hoping to hit one of the big spots at least once a month for the next year or so. 44, Meritage, Alma, Heartland, etc.

                                    410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                                    1. re: semanticantics

                                      Definately give them a call. When we were there a while ago, we asked about vegatarian options, and were told that they could prepare one of the pastas with vegetables.

                                      Not exactly a fantastic answer.

                                      1. re: Danny

                                        Danny ,
                                        I agree in general with that answer ' pasta with vegetables' being kind of less than inspiring. But it is also true that there are some great dishes that include pasta and vegetables, and if the cooks are inspired and creative, which they seem to be at this place, that one could end up with something good. But generally I have to agree it sounds like not a place that is very vegetarian oriented. I suppose further conversation with them would be necessary.........

                                        1. re: faith

                                          there is one "pasta" and veggie dish that jfood can think of in MSP that can be included on ANY tasting menu...

                                          BLG's gnocchi with cauliflower in a orange sauce.

                                          1. re: faith

                                            I'm well aware that you can execute vegetables and pastas very well. I also *REALLY* want Victory 44 to succeed - I can walk there from my house.

                                            However, in a restaurant that prides itsself on "every table being the chef's table" and has the cooks are providing the service, when I ask about vegetarian options, I expect a lot better answer than one of the salads, and "If one of the pastas sounds good, we can cook that with some vegetables for you."

                                            This is a place that was making its own tofu for a while. They're capable of executing vegetarian food, they just don't seem all that interested. If they're really interested in being creative in the kitchen - why not view vegetarian customers as another outlet for that creativity?

                                            1. re: Danny

                                              Maybe it's as simple as it's just not what they want to do. That's their prerogative, right? Is there an 11th commandment: Thou shalt cook off-menu items for people who have chosen a particular, limited diet?

                                              It's not how I choose to treat visitors in my home, but I know most of my friends/family still view vegetarians as a pain in the ass to host/accommodate. I can see how restaurants might feel the same way.

                                              It is what it is -- maybe this place's flaw is that it just isn't a good restaurant for vegetarians or others that come in and expect the chefs to cook whatever they please.

                                              1. re: MSPD

                                                The menu regularly features a salad and a beet dish. That, along with a willingness to improv on any pasta dish, seems like the standard accommodation.

                                                1. re: MSPD

                                                  Which is why I was trying to contact them before making a 24 minute drive and acting all huffy if I didn't get my way. I know vegetarians aren't the main focus of many establishments, but if The French Laundry, Per Se, and Alinea can accommodate me (as well as locals like Meritage, Alma, W. A. Frost, Heartland), why couldn't / shouldn't this place? I am actively wanting to spend my dollars everywhere that will allow me.

                                                  1. re: semanticantics

                                                    i tried the "rutabaga" plate at v-44 and honestly thought it fell pretty short. it was basically mac&cheese flavor profile, with creamy pasta, & a few rutabaga chips. the charcuterie plate, however i really liked-- head cheese was great, and the whole platter was very goth, with the beet puree :)

                                                    i'd call them & see what they say re: veg tasting menu. it's a small enough place that imo it would absolutely be fair if they said that they're just not veg*n oriented (or kosher/halal oriented, or g-f oriented) sorry. . . yet i know that e harcey can and does do great veg food-- i am remembering a fresh pea puree from before v-44 even opened. . . the rest of the "cookstaff/waitstaff," not so sure about. i don't think it's fair to compare a neighborhood burger place with some interesting stuff on the menu to alinea or french laundry, which are among the best restaurants in the entire world-- or to alma, where the chef just won the regional james beard, fer goodness sakes. if you expect v-44 to be operating at that level, you're setting yourself up for a disappointment, and holding a small and creative restaurant to an unfair standard.

                                            2. re: Danny

                                              And pasta with vegetables does not really make a tasting menu.

                                              For what it's worth, the only meat that I generally eat is seafood and mainly stick to a vegetarian diet. However, I did eat all of the meat entrees on the tasting menus that I've been served and have felt that they have been "worth it." Obviously, the motivations behind each person's dietary choices are personal, but if you consider yourself to be a flexitarian, I think the tasting menu is worth the meat consumption.

                                              1. re: bob s

                                                Think someone has been reading here?

                                                Dara made a blog post about Victory 44, and called out the vegetarian options: http://www.minnesotamonthly.com/media...

                                                Victory 44
                                                2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

                                                1. re: Danny

                                                  Also looks like they've overhauled their website, and are posting pictures of the chalk board menu (with pea risotto option mention in article mysteriously absent).

                                                  1. re: semanticantics

                                                    I'm wondering if the pea risotto is what accompanies the scallops?

                                                    But yeah... why talk about the risotto when it isn't its own item on the menu?

                              2. I just read about some of the Victory-44 chefs leaving and starting their own place.

                                Info here: http://ginandphonics.com/2010/05/21/v...

                                Does anyone have more news about this?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: karykat

                                  It is called "Travail" and is in the old Talula's space in Robbinsdale. (Next door to the former Thistles, soon to be Nonna Rosa's)

                                  They're on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Robbins... and Twitter: http://twitter.com/TravailKitchen

                                  1. re: Danny

                                    Wow, that was quick. Hopefully this serves to give us two great options in Robbinsdale, rather than two compromised options.

                                2. Went in on Tuesday night for the first time in a month or so. Completely different staff.

                                  Had the lamb tartare. Very good. Decided not to order anything else.

                                  I'll be looking forward to the next endeavor.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: BigE

                                    I went today, and saw three new faces from last week. Noticed several of the small plates erased from the board, but that could be prep for the weekend, or just a transition.

                                    The foie gras hot dog was very good. More in line with their "cut above" bar food, but an exceptional value.

                                  2. I stopped in with a friend for their new Brunch this morning. Apparently we were the first people to get brunch on a Sunday. I think they had it last week on Saturday, but I happened to call later that day about maybe coming in for dinner (and asked about the veg options, and got the "pasta with veg" answer), and was told their coolers were down, which must've sunk last Sundays brunch.

                                    Anyways, I started with the Beet Terrine, part of their normal menu, and got the Olive Oil Pancakes. My friend got the Pig in Blanket, a house-made breakfast sausage done corn dog style. My beet dish sounds kind of like the inverse of what the Original Poster mentioned, it had orange segments and planks of beet, with two strands of what I figured was a gelee of some kind, microgreens, and two discs of (goat?) cheese. Getting everything on the fork at once was spectacular. The pancakes had chocolate chip, honey butter, and fresh mint (not a fan of mint, I brushed it to the side). Perfectly done, great texture, and ultimately the right sized portion, not post-carbo load heaviness.

                                    Their Facebook page has pictures of the Brunch menu for the curious and was integral in getting me to drive 25 minutes for some pancakes. Really enjoyed the food and will be back, hopefully to some more veg options.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: semanticantics

                                      Glad to see brunch is back. When they first opened (pre-chalkboard era) Brunch was their best meal. The "French Toast" was amazing. Back then, it was a baked loaf of bread that was awesome. Sounds like the new french toast is something else...

                                    2. I know there are a couple of threads on V's on this main page, but I think my review belongs here.

                                      My friend and I returned to Vic's 44 tonight for dinner. We were given two amuse courses, Garlic Popcorn and a Bacon Date puree of some sort, I missed the full description after "bacon". The popcorn didn't have any noticeable garlic flavor, and was a bit stale, but I dislike popcorn to begin with so maybe I'm biased. My friend said the date bacon bite was really potent, but not super bacony.

                                      I ordered the Beet Salad for a starter. It was about 50% different than the Beet Terrine I had last week. The beet was cut into more substantial chunks, and I think there was more of it, and the plate had additions of pistachios, pistachio powder, a swipe of a cherry sauce, and instead of goat cheese there were two discs of blue cheese with cherry inside. This was even better than the dish I loved last week. The funk of the blue cheese versus the sweetness of the beets was fantastic. This dish is just $5, and while it won't fill you up, it's just packed with flavor.

                                      For our entrees my friend ordered the Surly Beer "Brat". It was brat flavored meat without a casing, presented in a rectangular shape, with sides of potato with some kind of cheese sauce on them and some onion. My friend seemed to enjoy the dish okay, he wasn't crazy about the sauce on the potatoes, and may not have ordered the dish had the dish been described past the "brat" portion. He still ate the potatoes and seemed to enjoy them well enough regardless. I asked him how he'd score his Pig in a Blanket last week on a scale of 1 to 10, and he said "9". I asked how this brat plate faired, and he said "about a 6".

                                      For my entree I ordered the Paparadelle with vegetables, the oft discussed "pasta with vegetables" option for us non-meat eaters. The pasta was cooked well, maybe a touch softer than I'd make myself, but certainly edible. The veggies included zucchini, carrot, asparagus, peas and lima (or maybe fava?) beans. It came with a creamy sauce of some kind. Unfortunately the sauce was fairly salty. The dish was also "about a 6" for me, it had lots of potential, but between the salt and a fairly small portion, I thought $9 was a tad hefty.

                                      I've got a friend visiting from out of town next week and plan to haul him up there. I'll continue to eat in the margins of the menu that fit my diet. I'm also hoping to tackle the Dessert Platter soon.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: semanticantics

                                        I was there on Saturday lunch and ended up trying the French Toast and the Brat

                                        French Toast: OMFG! Very light and airy bread, covered in what I was told was a Creme Brulee batter, a creamy mousse (Mascarpone), some strawberries and rhubarb and a very light syrup. I felt like telling the guys to keep brining that dish for the next 2 hours straight......

                                        Surly Beer Brat - as described above. I'd give it about a 7. Decent dish that I'd have no problems ordering again but there are so many great choices.....

                                      2. Victory 44's social networking website page indicates a new Tasting Menu (now $35, $55 w/ wine) with dishes described and available a la carte ($9 each), as well as a new "Chefwich". They have also teased a new Brunch menu for this weekend.


                                        Watermelon Salad
                                        Bone Marrow & Oxtail Jam
                                        White Bean Agnolotti
                                        Crayfish Sausage & "Fresh Polenta" (the quotes worry me)
                                        Bacon Wrapped Salmon