Corner Table - 5 Course Tasting...Wow
For whatever reason, I've had a hankering to go to Corner Table. I'd been to the restaurant twice last year for pig butchering classes, but haven't had a proper meal there. Last night, I made my first trip and it was one I won't soon forget.
I walked in a few minutes before 8 to find the dining room 3/4 or so full. I grabbed a seat at the end of the bar and looked over the menu. As I was perusing, Scott poked his head of the kitchen, looked at me and said, 'Butcher classes?' I told him he was right, not realizing what that moment of recognition was going to lead to.
I wanted to try so many things, but wasn't sure where to go, so I opted for the 5 course, $65 menu. What followed was pure joy.
Amuse - The amuse consisted of a spoon full of radish, Northern Lights blue cheese, chives, and lemon juice - Nice, fresh, bright. I'm not a big blue cheese guy, but that stuff is outstanding.
First - Lardo, pickled radish (?), pea shoots on top of grilled bread - The char flavor on the bread was great, the lardo was buttery, meaty deliciousness. The radish had a little zing to help cut through the richness. Thumbs up.
Second - Pork terrine, pork rillettes, honey mustard, chive, and pickled beans - The terrine was excellent, the rillettes was probably the weakest element of the night. It was a bit dry and had a strong wheat bread taste to it. Good dish, just happened to be the weakest of the 5.
Third - Gnocchi, guanciale, mushroom - Wow. I don't know what else to say about this one. The gnocchi were perfect and pillowy, the guanciale was salty pork heaven. Even the mushrooms, which I generally don't care for, were meaty and awesome.
Intermezzo - Lemon sorbet - A spoonful of perfect sorbet, with a sliver of lemon rind on top. Cold, clean, not too tart or sweet. Great palette cleanser.
Fourth - Rabbit three ways (leg, loin, belly), ginger carrots, sweet potato puree, candied apples - This was, without question, one of the best plates of food I have ever eaten. The leg tasted just like a fork tender turkey drumstick (not a bad thing), and combined with the sweet potato puree, it tasted just like Thanksgiving. The loin was tender and delicious, and the belly was cut in lardons and fried crisp. Altogether, a plate I won't soon forget.
Fifth - Bread pudding waffle, spiced cardamom ice cream, crispy bacon, maple syrup - As I considered what could be on its way for dessert, I started to think I would be disappointed if bacon wasn't used in some way. Luckily, Scott didn't disappoint. The waffle was rich and delicious, the ice cream had a wonderful flavor and cooled the plate perfectly, and the bacon added salt right where it needed to be. And that doesn't even get to the maple syrup...wow. One of the best desserts ever.
As I sat squaring up my tab, Scott came out to chat. He said that as soon as he recognized me, he told the guys to make sure there was as much pig as possible in my meal. How can you not love that? Though ironically, my favorite dish of the night was the one without any pig.
As a final farewell, I left with a pound of bacon and two hunks of that amazing Northern Lights Blue.
What a night. If you haven't been to Corner Table, or just haven't been recently, make a point of getting there as soon as possible.
4257 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409
They usually have a vegetarian option and a veg pasta sometimes but since the place reflects Scott's personality, you could probably tell them you're a vegetarian and they would cook something for you.
I've been meaning to write about our recent trip there for Sunday breakfast. I had the trout cake with a potato pancake and poached eggs, their riff on eggs benedict. There is no one in town that knows how to poach eggs like that. Seriously, no one. I've never eaten an egg so perfectly done and delicious. So glad they started breakfast service again, even if it's only on Sunday and they don't have their old grits dish back.... yet....
Your description is great! I have to go there now. I had a few questions about the place though...
The menu lists "Kitchen Table." I was curious what it was and why the $125 price tag?
I tried to sign up for the pig butchering class but it was full when I called. Would you recommend it if they offer it again? Have you taken any other classes?
The kitchen table is literally a party of 2-6 (I think that is the max) sitting in the kitchen. The seats are close enough that you can interact, but not so close to the action that it is hot or anything. The menu is made up as the even goes along and includes wine and beer pairings. They will keep serving courses until you tell them to stop. I think Scott said the record is somewhere close to 30 courses. We went for my birthday about a month ago and had a great experience. We had:
Beets and apple with pickled onions
Apple and celery root salad with mustard
Potato salad with horseradish and coppa
Smoked trout with blini, lemon, and upland cress
Perogi with cabbage
Soft egg with kimchee and herbs
Beef tongue with duck fat potatoes and mustard
Carrot risotto and poached egg
Pork belly with carrot puree and red wine sauce
Chicken and waffles
Pork tenderloin with cranberries and brown butter mashed potatoes
Hamburger with a side of bacon
Lemon sorbet with cava
Shortbread with apples, honey, and cheese
Maple rice pudding with a shot of unboiled sap on the side
Chocolate almond "candy bar"
Highlights for me included the blini with smoked trout, the carrot risotto with a perfectly poached egg, the pork tenderloin with cranberries - wow were the potatoes deliciously rich, and the maple rice pudding. Of course, a new day would bring a whole new menu - which is part of the reason why I am very much looking forward to going back. :-)
I've only taken the pig classes, and if you have any interest in butchering, I highly recommend it. You start with an entire pig, halved, and Scott goes through breaking down the whole thing. He basically guides you through certain cuts and lets the class do the work. Once you get certain cuts done (shoulder, etc), people will break off into grinding and seasoning for different types of sausage, cased and bulk. Class ends with a nice meal, served with various beer and wine choices.
And I've not done the kitchen table, mainly because I can't find someone else to go with me. I can't imagine what 20+ courses would be like, based on what I had Wednesday.