Would we go back:
3804 Grand Ave S
• Skewered Lamb Meatballs - Quino Pilaf with Mint and Pine Nuts ~ Savory Tomato Jam $10 (shared)
• Leek Custard Tart - Shaved Asparagus and Braised Mushrooms ~ Poached Egg ~ Savory Short Dough Crust $17
• Dessert cheese course $8
If Grand Cafe had not followed Heidi's I think I would have been much more enchanted with it. Unfortunately it had a hard act to follow being in the same price range and the same style of restaurant and it did not quite live up to the new standard in my head.
However it is still a good restaurant. The lamb meatballs were a highlight of the meal for me and actually reminiscent of something I might have expected at Heidi's. However, my entree fell short and mainly because the poached egg was over done. I almost sent it back in part because there is nothing more disappointing then an over poached egg and a perfect poached egg would have made the dish close to perfect. But it was really busy at that time and being a born and bred Minnesotan really beyond my comfort zone. But the leek tart was really quite nice. The dessert cheese course was everything a dessert cheese course should be and reminded me of how bad Tryg's dessert cheese course really was, it had three very nice cheeses with a couple of delightful accompaniments. The only thing that would have been nice here was some great bread instead of the cracker-bread they were serving with it.
If you live in the area this is a great neighborhood place and you are lucky to have it. If you don't live in the area, it may not be worth the drive across town to go there.
• Duck Confit Au Bon Canard Farms Duck Confit ~ Salt Roasted Potatoes ~ Saute of Ramps, Asparagus and Hazelnuts ~ Orange Marmalade $21
• Malted Chocolate Tart With Banana Ice Cream ~ Caramelized Pecans ~ Port Syrup $8.50
Everything at Grand Cafe is good, and you will leave happy. You will leave happy because you are in a good neighborhood restaurant where the staff really works hard – someone drops a fork and a server is there to pick it up, someone slips on a wet floor and the manager quickly dries the floor with a towel, someone needs anything and anything appears. Even on a busy night, they were very attentive and I felt like everyone cared.
The food is difficult to judge after an off-the-charts experience at Heidi’s. The food ranged from good to excellent. I really loved the duck confit. The duck was perfectly prepared, juicy and delicious. The accompanying orange marmalade was very good with the duck - a great choice. The potatoes were simple but matched well. The asparagus was in season, another good, simple choice. They just didn’t make any mistakes with the entrée.
The skewered meatballs were also very good. There were four meatballs that had a nice flavor with the mint and the pine nuts. The savory tomato jam was more like a thick tomato sauce, but it, too, was really good. The price was a little on the high side, but as with the entrée, they did not make any mistakes.
I was much less impressed with the malted chocolate tart. The chocolate, the tart, and the ice cream were not all that great. I couldn’t taste the banana in the ice cream (maybe they substituted vanilla, maybe I just wasn’t paying attention). The highlight of the dessert was the caramelized pecans, which were crunchy, chewy, and sweet. For the price, I expected much better. If I went back I would choose something else – the cheese plate that Renee had was delectable.
I really hope Grand Cafe makes it over the long haul. It’s a nice neighborhood restaurant.
May 10, 2008
4" glass shaker