Porter and Frye: Minneapolis, MN

Porter and Frye Winter Salad

Minnesota food critic Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl recommends Porter and Frye for “The Big Birthday” in November’s issue of Minnesota Monthly (Online article doesn’t include P & F.) To celebrate a similar big event–G. Grod’s and my tenth wedding anniversary–my generous family treated us to dinner at Porter and Frye in downtown Minneapolis’ Ivy hotel. Beforehand, the restaurant called to find out our likes, dislikes, foods to avoid, and foods to include (foie gras, for G. and me), then they crafted a menu and an accompanying wine flight just for us.

We were seated at the cozy circular booth tucked into the stairwell. Service was knowledgeable, personable, attentive but never oppressive. And the meal. Oh, my. Chef Josh Habiger (his Flickr page has lots of beautiful food pics to ogle) and his team hit it out of the park: king-crab salad with Japanese pepper and vanilla foam in a martini glass; pressed roasted squash in a brilliant green tarragon sauce with little gumdrop-shaped nuggets of ripe, local pear caramelized on their tiny bottoms; foie gras with concord grape jam and sorbet, with buttered toast to sop up every last delicious morsel; veal sweetbreads with flash fried chard that dissolved in my mouth plus a savory sauteed chard; duck with mustard, figs and duck-fat sauteed parsnips; pork tenderloin and belly with a perfectly non-sweet gingerbread, and a sweet potato puree so light and fluffy I could not fathom the science involved in getting it that way (and they didn’t tell me); raspberry and chili pepper sorbet, and cream cheese ice cream alongside a chocolate, cherry and vanilla pastry.

We had the seven-course meal. It was a lot of food, but I cannot name a course I would have skipped. Our tenth anniversary dinner was filled with beautiful plates of delicious, high-quality food prepared with mind-boggling creativity and cutting-edge techniques. I’ll cherish the memory of this meal for a long time.

Edited to add all sorts of links. Be sure to look at the food photos; they make me awestruck and hungry at the same time.

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