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Feb 14

Fine Dining in Minneapolis – Nighthawks

Fine Dining in Minneapolis – Nighthawks

We love the restaurant scene in Minneapolis — although there are a few things that I miss from living on the East Coast, local restaurants do provide great alternatives and in some cases easily match the originals — for example Black Sheep Pizza will give any CT/NY pizza a run for its money. In some cases, Minneapolis restaurants offer international-city type caliber of food.

Some months ago, while trolling around on the Instagram I found a flow of posts of small little dishes that looked absolutely delicious. The posts were coming from something called Birdies, a hidden backroom inside of the Nighthawks restaurant, which in itself is great. Birdies takes it a few notches up, offering a private dining experience where 12 people only get served by chef 13 little and absolutely delicious dishes. The price is $100 per person and if you chose wine flight it’s another $50 — and you get a lot of wine. Gratuity is also included, and it makes me think if this was NYC or San Francisco, Birdies could easily command prices twice as much and there would be a 3 month wait list.

Food Porn

Enough with me blabbering, here are the pictures of the dishes and some notes I jotted down while I wasn’t stuffing my face and imbibing in the wine…

Avocado Ball

Fine Dining in MPLS
The dinner started with an Avocado Ball, almost like a California roll inverted inside-out and placed into an eggshell made out of avocado.

Bergkase CremeBrulee

Fine Dining in MPLS
Pickled onion & fresee, an absolutely amazing combination, and beautifully, richly delicious dish

Beet-Cural Salmo Belly

Fine Dining in MPLS
One of the best dishes of the night, the blood-orange complimented the salmon superbly, which was perfectly cooked and with just a hint of beet. The tiny “nuggets” of sesame seeds were perfectly toasted and added not only harder contrast to the softer fish but also were delicious on their own.

Looking around

The pace of the dinner is leisurely, and while sitting down for dinner for 3 hours may be intimidating at other restaurants, here, it’s actually encouraged that you enjoy yourself and relax, walk around, talk, etc. While having conversation with Mrs. TravelSavvyDad I snuck around to take a few pictures of the ambiance

Fine Dining in MPLS
The chef is also a DJ, while my I resisted the temptation to walk up to the record player and make a few scratches, the music selection was great and not too obtrusive like it could be in so many restaurants, this was perfectly in the background and the analog feel of the records only complimented the food so much more.

Fine Dining in MPLS
While the space is small, it’s not crowded, but all around you things are happening, staff are working very hard to make sure you’re getting your food at perfect temperature and in a timely manner

Fine Dining in MPLS
Oh and the wine…it flowed and flowed and flowed…

Leeks and Cheeks

Fine Dining in MPLS
Now this was probably my favorite dish of the night. On the bottom the leeks were perfectly cooked off, the stake check just melted in your mouth (just like the leaks did, too), the crispy leaks on top were amazing and the young leaks tied the whole dish together with a fresh air.

Broken Rice

Fine Dining in MPLS
The broken rice is actually the smaller pieces of rice that remain after you sift away the lump rice, most people consider this to be throw-away so it was a very creative way use of the ingredient. But, the star was Chicken Oyster. The dish had a definite asian flavor and the only note that I mustered to write down (because I was too busy eating and enjoying this dish) was that the smell of this dish was unreal.

Honey Marjoram Buttermilk Bread

Fine Dining in MPLS
My least favorite dish, it had great potential but the “whipped lardo butter” was not so much as butter but plain lard. Now I love lard, when it’s salty and grainy, but this tasted just like your run-off grease. Perhaps the worst part was that the whole biscuit was also covered in this lard taste, so you couldn’t just simply eat it by itself.

Smoked Beet Dumpling

Fine Dining in MPLS
Another beet-themed dish, perfectly cooked with carrot broth, chili oil and beet blush. Absolutely amazing and the dumpling tasted like eating perfectly cured kovbasa with Thai sauce.

Duck Confit

Fine Dining in MPLS
Another perfect dish consisting of rutabaga, meyer lemon and prunes

Fresh Juice

Fine Dining in MPLS
The palette cleanser, but my favorite palette cleanser was more wine
Fine Dining in MPLS

Dry-Aged Duck Breast

Fine Dining in MPLS
Perfectly cooked duck breast with red cabbage, turnip and apple almond miso. The skin was crisp and the tasted fresh but not overpowering of duck, which it can sometimes be.

Bent River Camembert

Fine Dining in MPLS
This was a very healthy and tasty dessert consisting of dates, seeded rye bread (absolutely perfect) and sherry

Mango Sorbet

Fine Dining in MPLS
This dish reminding of flavors that I only tasted while traveling in China, it was probably also the most beautiful dish of the night.

Orange Pudding Cake

Fine Dining in MPLS
For the finale, both the dish and the desert were the stars, but my heart and desert stomach was won over by the Mango Sorbet…

Summary

This was a very un-expected and a great experience. We knew the scene in Minneapolis for creative, delicious and affordable food is second to none, but this experience is completely in a different class of your standard dinner, all expectations were not only met but exceeded. Birdie is definitely a hidden treasure of Minneapolis and if you’re traveling (or live here) you owe it to yourself to try this experience.

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