Tenant 3 (Minneapolis)

I said in my review of our second dinner at Tenant—in July—that we were already planning a return trip in September. And for a change I was not a liar. We made reservations for the first weekend of September as soon as spots were available, and so it came to pass that at 6 pm last Saturday we sat down at their counter once again. Our second dinner had surpassed the first and we were curious to see what we would make of our third. Sorry to kill the suspense so soon but we thought it was excellent and perhaps, top to bottom, an even better meal than the previous. Indeed, it’s becoming hard to see how we will give our fine dining dollars to any other Twin Cities establishment. Herewith the details.

Their first seating at the counter is at 6 pm. There are eight seats there and the synchronized service begins once all eight are seated. On our previous visit there were two dawdlers (who didn’t finally make it in) and so that meal started a little late. On this occasion we arrived at 6 to find everyone else already seated with drinks in hand and so the service began almost immediately after we sat down. Of the tables behind us only one was occupied to start. The rest started filling up closer to 7. Clearly, they stagger the seatings to better manage the flow.

As always, there was no printed menu (they kindly emailed the details to me later). And as always, the promise is of six courses ($60). An optional wine pairing is available ($30 for three generous pours). You can also choose your own drinks, however, and get wine by the glass or the bottle, or beer if you prefer. We got one wine pairing and asked them to split it between us, giving the missus—who does not drink much—small pours of each to taste and the rest to me. I gathered that not everyone was getting the same wines—we were given pours from a new set of bottles. First up was an acidic Lambrusco. A few bracing sips and the parade of food began.

Course 1
Poached shrimp
Concasse cherry tomatoes
Green beans
Scallion
Tomato water

These tomato water courses appear to be the through line in their ever-changing menus (though probably not in the winter). At our first two dinners the tomato water course was a warm course and showed up third. On this occasion it was chilled and kicked things off. Dynamite again. The peeled cherry tomatoes popped alongside the crisp veg (though not listed in the components there was some excellent charred broccolini as well—at least I think it was charred); all tied together by the tomato water: I could even have done without the shrimp.

Course 2
Hamachi crudo
Roasted red pepper sauce
Radish
Cucumber

Nasturtium

A spectacularly pretty presentation, almost too pretty to eat. The flavours and textures were as beautifully composed as the look. If I had to quibble I would say the roasted pepper puree threatened to tip over into being cloying but the missus disagreed.

Course 3
Raviolo
Lamb sausage
Goat cheese
Quail egg yolk
Carrot/beet dough
Garlic whey butter sauce
Sourdough focaccia

The raviolo was impeccable. The garlic whey butter sauce was a bit too acidic on its own but once the yolk oozed out of the raviolo and into it all was fine with the world.

Ah yes, the second wine was poured to go with courses 2 and 3: a crisp Albarino. With courses 4 and 5 came a lovely Rioja that was 100% tempranillo.

Course 4
Rigatoni
Corn
Shishito
Various mushrooms
Braised pork
Breadcrumbs
Parm

The pasta courses here are always a highlight and this may be my favourite of all the pasta dishes we’ve had here so far. A lot of components listed above but it all came together perfectly again in terms of textures and flavour. We ate recently at a very well-reviewed Italian place in New York and this was up there with the pasta dishes we ate there.

Course 5
New York strip
Jus
Blue cheese
Veggie skewer

A nicely grilled piece of loin (no sous vide nonsense) very simply served with excellent jus reduction and whipped blue cheese. The skewer of veg and mushrooms added some contrast on the side.

Pre-Dessert
Seaberry slushy

Our previous dinner featured a yuzu-sour grape sorbet at this point that almost shattered our teeth and so we were prepared for the tart attack this time. Not everyone at the counter was—it was fun to see their faces after the first spoonful. It does reset the palate though.

Course 6
Lemon/vanilla custard
Whipped creme fraiche
Candied cocoa nibs
Marcona almonds

This is the only repeat we’ve had across our three meals so far but no disappointment or complaints at my end. This was one of my favourite courses at our second dinner and I was very glad to see it again before it cycles off soon. It was as good as it was in July and then I described it as probably the best dessert I’d eaten in the Twin Cities in the last year. I still feel that way.

Gawk at the pictures below and scroll down for service, cost etc. Please forgive the white balance issues—there’s far less natural light in the early evening in September in Minnesota than in July.

Service at the counter was as relaxed and affable as always. I’m not always a fan of counter dining but I really enjoy it here. The price was exactly the same as at our last dinner: $97’ish per head for two dinners and one wine pairing. Far from cheap but very fair for what it is. We hope to be back again in November.

Despite what I said in the introduction, we will in fact be giving our custom to other Twin Cities fine dining places before our return to Tenant. We are scheduled to return to In Bloom soon, and I have our names on the waitlist at Demi for the missus’ birthday early next month. If we can’t get in there we might return to Meritage or perhaps try Joan’s in the Park for the first time. But before any of that there’ll be a flurry of food reports from DC (only one more to go) and New York (many, many to come).

4 thoughts on “Tenant 3 (Minneapolis)

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