My friend Marah was in town for business, so it gave me the opportunity to go into Minneapolis for a great “foodie” dinner! I used to have foodie dinners in Chicago on a regular basis and obviously had amazing meals in Italy all the time. Since we have moved back to Minnesota, I have yet to get out for a unique and amazing meal. Marah and I both love to cook and we appreciate both regional home-cooking as well as chef-prepared “foodie” dinners. I decided Haute Dish was the perfect restaurant to try. The name is a play on the Minnesota comfort food of hotdish and the menu seemed to take both aspects of the food we love and combine them. I had been wanting to try this restaurant for awhile and when I explained the concept to Marah, she loved it.
The restaurant only offers a few tasting menus, so we decided to try two of the smaller tastings and split them. The first was the “HD Classic” and consisted of three courses: house salad, mac n cheese and tater tot hautedish. The other was “Meatless Monday” and consisted of four courses: green goddess salad, fried green tomato, green eggs and parm, and “choose your own adventure” for dessert. It was quite dim in the restaurant and I only had my iPhone for a camera, so I admit these are not the greatest pictures of the food. But I feel they are enough to capture the idea of what we enjoyed.
The first course of the HD Classic menu was “house salad.” It was a wedge of iceberg topped with bacon, blue cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers and served with french and ranch dressing. I absolutely love that this is the traditional midwestern salad I have grown up with, but obviously elevated. The presentation was beautiful, all of the components were very fresh and delicious and the ranch tasted of fresh herbs. It was a great start to the meal.
The second salad was the green goddess salad. It was bibb lettuce served with a green goddess dressing topped with toasted peanuts, cheese stuffed peppadew peppers and green olives. The flavors were bright and I absolutely love cheese stuffed peppers (I have my own recipe on this site under antipasti or at http://italianmidwestern.com/recipes/antipasto/stuffed-cherry-peppers/). This salad was very enjoyable, but not quite as outstanding as the house salad.
Our second courses were the best courses overall. For the classic menu, we were served macaroni and cheese with crab meat that had an extremely creamy cheese sauce that included tallegio cheese, one of my favorites that I ate a LOT while in Italy! It was topped with tobiko (flying fish roe), fresh parsley and celery leaves. This was so decadent and amazing. It is a very good thing this course was portion controlled, because I would have had a very hard time stopping myself if I was presented with a much larger plate-full!
The meatless Monday menu’s second course was fried green tomatoes. These were served with a fingerling puree and a roasted tomatillo chimichurri. The tomatoes were perfectly fried to a tender, but firm texture with a crispy outer coating. The fingerling puree added richness and the chimichurri brought a brightness that cut through the heaviness of the dish. It was so delicious!
I have to say we didn’t love the main courses. We certainly didn’t hate them either, but we were not blown away by these dishes. The classic menu’s tater tot hautedish was my most anticipated dish of the night. This was a deconstructed version of the traditional Minnesota dish. It was braised beef, homemade tater tots (which had the consistency of mashed potatoes that were formed into a tater tot shape and then fried), green beans, mushrooms, gravy and jus from the beef. Then the dish was topped with a little cheese. Overall this dish was very good, it was just over-salted. I think the braised beef and the jus were the culprits. My guess is the sauce over-thickened and the saltiness became too intense. If the saltiness were better balanced, this dish would have been excellent!
The main course for the meatless Monday menu was green eggs and parm. This was my least favorite dish of the meal. It was a parmesan steak, for lack of a better term, served with an heirloom tomato sauce, a fried egg, and a fennel garnish. I like the idea of what they tried to do with the parmesan, but I didn’t love the texture of the “steak”. And unfortunately none of the other components of the dish wowed me either.
To finish the meal, we split a dessert. We chose the cheesecake that was topped with a brittle and served with a bourbon caramel sauce. This dessert was excellent and plenty to share! It was a great mix of textures and was decadent, but not overly sweet. It was a fabulous end to the meal.
Overall, I loved our dinner at Hautedish and continue to love the concept of this restaurant! This was the perfect choice for my first “foodie” dinner out since our return to Minneapolis.