The Corner Table’s Kitchen Table
I could have possibly had one of the most amazing culinary experiences of my life the other night thanks to The Corner Table in Minneapolis. I was lucky enough to enjoy a 12 course meal, paired with wine and beer and served in a cozy corner table just feet away from the stove. The night was filled with great company, mouthwatering aromas, vibrant flavors and picture-perfect plate presentations. Chef Thomas and his team are culinary geniuses, so gifted at what they do. Their passion for their craft was not only seen in the kitchen but tasted in each and every bite of food. It was a great experience to watch them cook, walk around the kitchen and ask them anything we could think of.
What made the food even better is that they only source fresh, local foods. They create their menu from seasonal food that is found within a 100 mile radius of Minneapolis. There was only one exception to this rule on our menu that night; sea scallops. I for one am grateful that the exception was made, since it was hands down my favorite meal of the evening.
A warning: do to the large amount of food consumed during this dinner, this post may become as lengthy as our meal was. (our dinner took 5 1/2 hours to complete)
Our amuse for the night was a Gougère; a delicate puff pastry filled with marscapone cheese and honey. If I hadn’t known that twelve other courses were to follow, I would have asked for a basket full of these. It was a great way to start the meal.
Wine Pairing: De Perriere, Cremant de Bourgogne Brut, France
1.) Wild mushroom, potato and goat cheese terrine, pickled vegetable vinaigrette – Our first course of the evening, and it did not disappoint. I knew from the first bite of this delicate morsel that twelve courses wasn’t going to be enough. I learned about a new technique with this course, a terrine. A terrine is a dish that is cooked ahead of time and allowed to cooling and set in a container. Who knew!
Wine pairing: Lange Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2011
2.) Beef tartar, fingerling potato chips, chili and garlic vinaigrette – The second course was a little scary for a few at our table. I have never had beef tartar before (only ahi tuna) but I will definitely be having it again. This dish was so good that I ate not only mine but I also had my mother-in-laws.
Wine pairing: Mont Marcal Brut Rose Cava, Penedes Spain, non-vintage
3.) Parisienne gnocchi, black trumpet mushrooms, coppa – I love gnocchi, always have. The dense little potato dumplings are so easy to dress up and serve with a variety of dished. This gnocchi dish was different than any I have ever had, they were made with wheat and not potato. They were prepared with the same dough that our amuse Gougeres were made of, which created a fluffier and airier gnocchi which paired perfectly with the lightness of the black trumpet mushrooms.
Wine pairing: M. Chapoutier “Marius” Vermentino/Terret, Vin D’Pays, France 2010
4.)Duck Confit salad, poached egg, mustard vinaigrette dressing – My husband, who is a hunter, has told me many horror stories about the taste of duck which has caused me to stick clear of it so far. This was only my second experience eating duck in my life, and I must say that my husband is very, very wrong about this meat. It was melt in your mouth good! To his credit, I realize that he is talking about wild game; very different that the amazing duck confit we enjoyed this night.
Wine pairing: Henry Milan “Le Grand Blanc” Cotes de Provence, France 2007 -A very Fragrant wine, unlike any I have every had but will definitely have again.
5.) Pork belly, braised cabbage, apple puree and pumpkin seeds – I only recently started eating pork again, and have never had pork belly, so I have nothing to compare it to. I do however had a base to compare all other future pork belly to and I will say that this meal has set the bar high. I would describe it as the perfect marraige of a juicy, tender pork chop with the flavor of a think cut piece of bacon. How can you go wrong with that?
Wine pairing: Great Lakes “Dortmunder Gold” Golden Lager, Cleveland, OH – I am not a beer drinker since I don’t particularly care for the taste, but paired with the right meal, it can be rather tasty.
6.) Dry packed scallop, coconut basmati, curried lobster broth, crispy ginger – Here it is! The star of the night! You could have served me this for all twelve courses and I would have been completely satisfied. Chef Thomas expained that the difference between an amazing scallop and an okay one is the way they are packaged. Most scallops you find in the store are packaged in a solution that drastically changes their texture and flavor. Dry packaged scallops are harder to find and more expensive, but they are worth the hunt and every penny you have to spend on them.
Wine pairing: Allendorf “Hasen Sprung” Riesling, Rheingau, Germany 2010
7.) pappardelle, pork sugo, sarvecchio – This was my least favorite dish of the evening. Not because of the meal itself but because I have never been a big fan of pasta. I find it to be rather uninteresting most of the time. With that said, I have always wanted to master the art of handmade pasta making. I have tried numerous times and it seems rather hit or miss. The Corner Tables pasta was definitely a hit, too bad I missed my opportunity to ask them their secret.
Wine pairing: Chianti- a great choices for a light pasta dish.
8.) Duck breast, hoisin, crispy brussels sprouts – Our second duck course of the night. This one was equally as tender as the duck confit. I am starting to think that my husband may be wrong with his opinion of duck, I am finding that it is rather tasty when cooked right. I even witnessed the brussels sprouts disappear off of everyones plates-which attests to the skill of the chefs; I have never been able to get anyone in my family to eat them…ever!
Wine pairing: Babcock “Rita’s Earth” Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, California 2009
9.)Flat iron steak, roasted onion, bearnaise – Well just when I was getting use to all this amazing food coming my way we were presented with our last main course of the evening, steak! What a good way to end the main courses. Steak and onions are up there on my favorite foods list. My only compaint…there wasn’t enought!
Wine pairing: Charles Smith “The Velvet Devil” Merlot, Columbia Valley, Washington 2011
10). Blue Cheese and crostini – The idea behind this next course was to be a palate cleanser. It’s purpose was to reset the taste buds and prepare you for dessert. I found that it worked similarly to smelling coffee beans at a purfume counter. I will have to remember this trick for my next diner party.
Wine pairing: Sour Cherry Beer- Like I said before, I’m not a big beer fan and I am really not a fan of cherry flavoring. But I am now a huge fan of sour cherry beer. I can’t explain the taste, but I can say that if you have a chance to try it you should. (but that could be the 10 previous drinks talking)
11.) Sweet potato doughnut, pots de creme – I happen to be a huge fan of sweet potatoes, but even if you are not I think you would find the light, delicate doughnuts to be irresistable. They were like eating mini doughnuts, just ten times better!
Wine pairing: Chateau d’Orignac, Pineau Des Chaurantes, Cognac, France
12.) Chocolate and hazelnut marquise, salty toffee – By the time our last course came around my taste buds were crying enough! I’m not sure I was able to fully appreciate this dessert due to the massive amout of food I had just consumed. I know it had to be equally as good as every other course but I honestly couldn’t tell you. I will have to go back and try it again someday, just to make sure.
Wine pairing: Miles 5 yr old Rich Madeira, Portugal
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