May 052012

Cuisine: French
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking, Sidewalk Patio
Location: Uptown Minneapolis
Address: 1600 W. Lake St.  Minneapolis, MN 55408  612.827.5710
Hours: Sun-Thurs 8am-1am * Fri-Sat 8am-2am
Links: Barbette Website * Barbette on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Located in Uptown at the corner of Lake St and Irving Ave, Barbette is much bigger inside than it might appear from the exterior.  The irregular-shaped bar run along one side of the restaurant, with many tables in all direction surrounding it.  There are simple pendant lights suspended from the industrial-style ceiling and eclectic pieces of art adorning the walls.

Menu: Breakfast items include Croissant, Scone, Muffin, Fruit Salad, Yougurt, Omelette, Quiche, Poached Organic Eggs, Buckwheat Crepe with Scrambled Eggs, Herbs, Brie and Strawberries, Eggs with Bacon or Sausage, Waffles and French Toast.

Sandwiches served from 11am-5pm include Croque Monsier, Croque Madame, Fischer Farms Ham and Brie Crepe, Royale with Cheese, Spinach, Roasted Tomato and Chevre Crepe.

Salads include Field Greens, Roasted Beet Salad, Nicoise, Cobb, and Grilled Skirt Steak Salad.

Appetizers served after 5pm include Oysters, Daily Soup, Daily Tartare, Steamed Mussels, Pommes Frites, Seared Scallops, Pea & Carrots, Daily Vegetable, Warm Olives, Linguini with Grilled Asparagus, Charcuterie Platter, Truffled Whipped Brie, Fondue au Fromage, Artisanal Cheese and Fruit Plate.

Barbette’s Entrees include Fischer Farms Grilled Pork Loin, Steak Frites, Langostine and Seared Scallops, Steak Helene, Roasted Kadejan Chicken, Pan Seared Atlantic Cod, English Pea Risotto with Pecorino Romano, Ham Hock & English Pea Risotto, and Halibut.

For dessert, Barbette features Vanilla Creme Brulee, Carrot Cake, Sorbet, Molten Chocolate Cake,
Price guide: Breakfast $2-13  Sandwiches $10-13  Appetizers $5-15 Entrees $18-38

Happy Hour:

  • Mon-Fri 3-6pm  *  Sun-Thu 10pm-1am
  • $3 PBR
  • $4 House wine and bubbly
  • $4 Domestic Taps
  • $5 Select appetizers

Weekly Specials:

  • Mondays- 5 to 10 p.m., Barbette prepares 4 to 5 course dinners, including dessert and/or a cheese course for $32. Menus often include sustainable harvested fish or locally farmed meats, but Barbette is happy to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, and others with dietary constraints.

What we ordered: My companion and I shared the Nicoise Salad to start.  There was a pile of greens with roasted red peppers, purple potato, olives, green beans, anchovies, soft boiled egg and ahi tuna.  The tuna was  seared perfectly and had almost a smoky taste to it.  It was great!

My companion and I decided to try several of the appetizers for dinner rather than order entrees.  Barbette serves steamed mussels two ways: one with white wine, lemon and garlic, and the other with a
chorizo-harissa sauce.  We tried the Chorizo-Harissa sauce, a spicy garlic red pepper sauce.  The order had several small mussels, all cooked tender.  We both thought these were very good.  It was served with three slices of crustini.

The “Tartare of the Day” happened to be Steak Tartare.  This was one item on the List of 100 Food to Eat Before You Die (The Food List Challenge) that neither of us had previously tried but I had heard that Barbette was the best place to have it, so we decided to order this too.  When it arrived, it resembled a pile of raw hamburger topped with a very soft egg and my companion and I both shared a look before we cautiously dug in.  It was really good!! The beef was so tender that it had a texture similar to sashimi.  It was served chilled and tasted of garlic and must’ve been marinated in a white wine.  It was served with crustini and field greens, mustard and slices of dill pickle.

We also tried the Truffled Whipped Brie, served with crustini and field greens.  This was wonderful if you like brie and truffles!  We put a little on the bread and then topped it with some of the steak tartare and the combo was really good!

Service: We had reservations on the Thursday night of Dining Out for Life and Barbette was very busy.  There is a very small lot in the back of the restaurant and it fills up quickly, and I wasn’t lucky enough to get a spot.  Be prepared to walk a couple of blocks, parking is hard to come by.  We entered Barbette through the side entrance and there didn’t appear to be a host stand nearby but it was quite busy already so we started walking toward the front when the host spotted us and brought us to our table.  We were greeted by our server within five minutes, who then took our drink order and told us about the daily specials.  She was knowledgeable about the menu and had good recommendations for us.  The food was brought out in two courses, as we had requested.  After dinner we ended up moving to one of the tables on the patio where we were joined by a couple of friends for drinks.  Our new server easily  transferred to the new server, who was also very attentive.
Overall Impression: Barbette is regarded as one of the best restaurants in the Twin Cities and it is easy to see why.  The service is very good and although the menu is somewhat limited, it is well executed.  If you want to try Steak Tartare, Barbette is a excellent choice.
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