Minneapolis has one of the best food scenes of ANY city I’ve ever traveled to and certainly better than any city I’ve ever lived in. One of my favorite things to do on the weekends, or any night for that matter, is to go out for cocktails and have dinner at one of the many mindblowing restaurants that are located in the twin cities area.
So, if you’re looking for a fun place to eat in Minneapolis, I’ve got you covered!
Travail: An amazing tasting menu that will blow your mind
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Written by: Stephanie
Travail Kitchen & Amusements
4124 W Broadway Ave, Robbinsdale / Wed-Sat 5 pm – 10 pm
Travail is a wildly popular, unassuming restaurant out in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. The building is nestled between a pawn shop and a pharmacy and does not have an exterior sign (only street numbers.) Travail Kitchen is part of the Travail Collective which includes Family Meal, Pig Ate My Pizza, and Minnesota BBQ Co.
Family Meal runs out of the second kitchen at the main building and serves four courses family style, all while seated at a diner bar with an unobstructed view of the chefs (!) I nearly died when I saw this, I just LOVE eating at chef’s tables or bars with views of the kitchen.
The menu at Family Meal changes bi-weekly and always highlights seasonal ingredients. I have dreams about this charcuterie board.
Family Meal is a ticketed/reservation dining experience with two seatings, one at 6:00 and the second at 8:00. The bar holds 16 people, tickets are sold only in pairs and will cost about $94 pre-tax and gratuity. Should you be so inclined, you can also add wine pairings or order cocktails. And just for fun – The family meal at Travail was our dinner after Pete proposed! So, Travail will always hold a special place in my heart 🙂
Pig Ate My Pizza
4154 W Broadway Ave, Robbinsdale / Wed-Sat 12 pm – 2 pm & 5 pm- 10 pm, Sun 11 am – 8 pm
Pig Ate My Pizza is currently occupying the old Travail Kitchen location just a few doors down from the current establishment. It is named one of the best places to eat pizza in the US by Food & Wine magazine! Who needs Chicago and New York?
I kid, I don’t discriminate…I love all pizza.
The menu includes classic pizzas, craft pizzas, and things like wings, ribs, and salads. They also have local brews on tap and wine. Sounds like my kinda place.
They do not take reservations nor do they deliver. Hours are lunch and dinner only, except Sundays where they are open all day.
Minnesota BBQ Co.
Minnesota BBQ Co. is currently only served up at breweries around town, but a brick and mortar shop will be opening sometime in 2018. The menu includes the classics like ribs, brisket, and sausage, but also has inventive things like smoked duck and homemade pickles. I’m a through and through Texas girl so I am curious to see how Minnesota BBQ ranks against my beloved Texas BBQ.
Last, but certainly not least…
Travail Kitchen is known for their 20+ course tasting menu of innovative American dishes that rotate with ingredient availability. Like Family Meal, Travail has an open kitchen so you can watch your chefs (also your servers) make and plate everything in a fun and joyous manner. Travail is all about the customer interaction and having fun while enjoying incredible food.
There are also state fair sized stuffed animals up in the rafters…E.T. was obviously my favorite. Are there any other 80s babies that watched E.T. on repeat and annoyed the ever living sh** out of your parents? #Noregrets
Our particular menu had 27 separate “bites” including the palate cleansers and take home snack. Side note, I tried to explain to my friends what Travail was and constantly was asked, “how did you get enough to eat?”
Trust me, you won’t leave hungry.
There are 7 bites in the appetizer section…i
Next up is the platter of:
Foie cherry, goat cheese and heirloom beet pannacotta, and king crab cornets with mayo and fruit leather…these were SO good.
Next up is a tasso ham meat hook. Beware, you are asked to eat the ham without using your hands and you should do that…it becomes a whole thing if you don’t.
A huckleberry sorbet with orange butter and mint…
I didn’t want to eat that…it was so cute. But… #getinmybelly
This plate is INCREDIBLE, probably my favorite of the evening. It is certainly the best plated and most attractive bite.
On this plate we have: heirloom tomato/beet/orange/cucumber/zucchini/garlic dirt/ricotta/goat cheese/oxalis/ nasturtium/pesto/breakfast radish/green tomato/gremolata/buttermilk creme/lobster mushroom/watermelon radish.
I seriously do not know how some people are so creative.
The fish section includes:
Shrimp terrine with tomato and shrimp vinaigrette, pickled onion, wasabi greens, horseradish, and pea puree.
Pork trotter terrine with mussels, broth, and white cabbage.
Arctic char with sorrel, almond, and haricot vert.
Luxury corn dog with lobster, shrimp, old bay mustard, and giardiniera. I will never be able to eat a traditional corn dog again. Unless it’s a Pronto Pup from the Minnesota State Fair, then you know, my word cannot be trusted.
This course includes:
Posole with hominy, tomato, tortilla, cilantro, parsley, and lime.
Baby green salad with crunchy skin, crispy pork, horseradish, pickled celery.
Between the pork and beef sections
The beef course is a smoked hanger steak with chermoula sauce, smoked onion sauce, herbs, and heirloom tomatoes. This was another favorite…so good I didn’t even take a picture.
Some point during the evening you are asked to leave the table and venture over to the “glory hole.” You’re then asked to make a fist, put your hand in and hope for the best…
The two-hour dinner production is capped off with five different desserts including this incredible flambé cake with a sweet lemon soak, pistachio butter, mint, stone fruit, and froyo dip & rip.
Other desserts include:
Pear pot de creme with creme fraiche
Caramel with coconut
Pate de fruit – lychee mango
Profiterole with chocolate and strawberry mousse
This tasting menu ranks up in the top five best meals I’ve ever had. I recommend going with a group of people, we went with two other couples and had a large table to ourselves, but you can certainly go in smaller groups.
Tickets range in price from $75 – $115 depending on the day of the week and time. Reservations book out several weeks in advance and there are rarely walk in spots available, so this will take some coordinating. It is expensive, but I cannot recommend it enough, especially if you’re a foodie and can appreciate the art of it.
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Founder of Packing for Plenty in July 2017. Along with her husband, Pete, she is on a mission to visit most countries. And wants to take y’all along as well! On PFP Steff provides travel itineraries ranging from a weekend trip nearby to 2 weeks living abroad like a local…detailed destination specific travel tips that aren’t readily available elsewhere…and unique and interesting bucket list worthy experiences.