Khâluna, Again (Minneapolis)


I first ate at Khâluna in early April. That meal was eaten with some colleagues and I liked it so much (see my review here) that I was resolved to eat there again soon with the missus. That happened only three weeks later but it has taken me almost three months since to write the second dinner up. This is not because I was less enthusiastic about this meal—it was also very good. It’s just that I had a big backlog of restaurant write-ups to get to and didn’t want to run a write-up of a repeat visit so soon after the first. The good news is that since Khâluna’s menu does not turn over much, if at all, this write-up is still relevant: everything we ate at this dinner is still on their menu. Having now eaten most of that menu, I would recommend most of it if you have a reservation.

For my thoughts on the look of the restaurant and their general culinary approach see that first review. I am going to restrict myself here to my thoughts on the things we ate and drank on this occasion. There were six of us at this meal: the missus, me and four friends from the crew we eat out with often. We had a late reservation on a Saturday and the restaurant was hopping when we got there—though it had begun to empty out by the time we were done. Unfortunately, we dd not get the large 6-top table, having to squeeze instead into a booth that seemed like it might be more comfortable for four. But we squeezed in and having got some cocktail orders in, got down to the bidness of eating.

We ordered a number of dishes I’d really enjoyed at the first outing and some new ones. As always we ordered everything to share (which was fine for everything we got except one dish).

Small Plates

  • SIIN SWAN dried ginger sesame beef, roasted tomato jeow. This beef jerky was excellent as was the tomato jeow it came with.

Salads (now called Chilled Plates on the menu)

These were both repeats from my first dinner and were both excellent on this occasion as well.

Entrees

None of the entrees were repeats. The yellow curry—a tip of the hat on this menu, as at Lat14’s, to Chef Ahmed’s Bangladeshi husband—was very good and the favourite main of some at the table. The duck fried rice was likewise tasty. My pick for the round, however, was the mango fish. Market price, in case you’re wondering, was $45 for a snapper just over 1 lb in weight. It was fried whole to a pleasing crisp and covered in a tangy dressing with shredded green mango etc. We literally left none of it behind. The only disappointment here was the laksa. There was not enough broth for the noodles and the flavours were too muddied.

Sides

In addition to the lovely tomato jeow that came with the dried beef, we got their two jeows on the side. Both were very good indeed.

  • HEED/Roasted Mushroom
  • MAK PET/Roasted Green Chilies

Dessert

  • PASSIONFRUIT CREMEUX
  • STEAMED CHOCOLATE CAKE
  • ICE CREAM COUPE
  • SORBET COUPE

The passionfruit cremeaux was one of the highlights of my first meal and the same was true of the second. The steamed chocolate cake was not quite at that level. The ice cream and sorbet coupes were both tasty with my vote going to the sorbet.

We had a number of cocktails between the six of us: several Old Fashioneds, two of the Brambles & Birdsongs, and one each of Counting the Ways, Flora & Fauna, A Place in the Sun and a non-alcoholic version of the Silk Road tonic. All were enjoyed by those who had ’em. My cocktails—Flora & Fauna and Send Me No Flowers—were quite a bit better than the Balinese Fruited Tonic I had at the first outing.

For a look at the food and drink—and a few more pics of the interior—launch the slideshow below. Scroll down to see how much it all cost and for thoughts on service, value etc.

All of the above food and drink plus tax and the included 21% service charge came to $487 or just about $81/head. Which is pretty good value in this market, I think. Of course, we were sharing. If you were in a group where everyone got a small plate/salad an entree and a dessert to themselves you’d end up higher. But really—laksa aside—this is good shareable food. I’m not sure if we’ll get to Khaluna a third time this year but if you like this kind of food in general and still haven’t been, I continue to recommend it highly.

Next up on the restaurant report front. If all goes according to plan, there will be another report apiece from Los Angeles and Hawaii this weekend. Next Tuesday’s review will feature a Minneapolis Italian restaurant we hadn’t been to in some years.


 

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