Would we go back:
4300 East Lake Street
• Cheese Plate $12.00 (shared)
• Herring dinner w/ mashed potatoes, fava beans and veggies $28.00
• Poached Bosc pear in wine w/ salted caramel ice cream $6.50
Craftsman reminded me a lot of late Chet's, which is not a big surprise since the they share the same chef. Craftsman is much bigger than Chet's was, but the menu is very similar with rillettes for one of the starters and an interesting selection of pizza choices. They did have a few more entrees than I remember at Chet's, but with the same creativeness.
The cheese plate contained local cheese and was very generous. The Herring dinner was not my mother's herring. It was a white fish fillet very similar to a walleye or a sunfish. The preparation was great it brought out the flavors with out overwhelming the delicacy of the fish. Dessert was a nice end to a nice meal.
Most neighborhoods would be lucky to have restaurant like the Craftsman, so if you are in the neighborhood check it out.
• Oven roasted Wild Acres pheasant breast wrapped in pancetta with parsnip mustard puree and brown buttered kale $24.00
• Trio of Izzy's Ice Creams $5.25
The Craftsman is a great neighborhood restaurant that you would expect in Linden Hills or Edina. But they are at the corner of 43rd Avenue and East Lake Street in the Longfellow neighborhood, five blocks from the Marshall-Lake Street bridge and the Mississippi River. When I normally think of Lake Street, I normally think of ethnic restaurants, but they serve New American cuisine. It’s a real meat-and-potatoes type of place that will please most people.
I was somewhat surprised that the artisanal cheese plate only contained three selections, albeit generous portions of each. The three were cow’s milk cheeses that were pleasing, relatively safe, and high quality cheeses locally made in Minnesota or Wisconsin. The plate was scattered with kumquats which went very well with the cheese and generous basket of bread.
The first taste of the pheasant was fatty and not appetizing. After that, it was heavenly. The tender, juicy pheasant breast was perfectly done. It’s not easy to fully cook game and not overcook it to a dry, tough condition. The Pancetta wrap was an unexpected treat, adding flavor to what can be a plain piece of meat.
Finishing with Izzy’s ice cream is always good. I was happy, but taken off guard when I had the opportunity to choose three scoops from five different selections.
As the total bill shows, The Craftsman is not cheap. However, it is a good local restaurant worth your attention. I would like to go back to try another of their entrees and sit in their outdoor patio on a warm summer night.
$20 and up
April 30, 2006