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Thursday, October 6, 2011

112 Eatery

Cold cuts with pickles 

Sauteed sweetbreads in porcini & clam sauce

French fries with tarragon aioli 

Pan-fried gnocchi with parmesan 

Lamb scottadito with goats milk yogurt 

Country style pork rib with salsa picante 

"Christmas" spiced popcorn and almonds
Last Sunday night I joined a few friends of mine at the 112 Eatery on North 3rd Street in Downtown Minneapolis. I have been to the 112 several times before and always leave satisfied. There are a few reasons why I love the 112, one being the intimacy of the restaurant. The storefront is small and inconspicuous, upon walking in the front door you notice the lights are dim and sultry with dark wood topping the bar and tabletops. On the main floor the floor-plan is quite narrow with booths lining the perimeter which takes you into a galley-style open kitchen. The ceiling features pressed tin leaving the diner with a feeling of timelessness and quality. Secondly, the menu. The menu is small and features many small plates, sides and appetizers. Diners have the option to choose a large main course, but I always prefer a smorgasbord. The menu is considered "New" American with offerings from sweetbreads, to soba noodles. The 112 has received some outstanding reviews locally and internationally. Just recently chef and co/owner Isaac Becker won the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Midwest for 2011. Now I'd like to walk you through our smorgasbord as shown in the photographs above. The first photo shows the cold cuts plate, also called charcuterie, the art of preserving meats. We samples several delicious meat combinations as well as a side of hard-boiled eggs with a fresh garnish of herbs, garlic and mustard, a great starter. Next we sampled sweetbreads with porcini and clam sauce. Sweetbreads are the thymus or pancreas gland typically of a calf. We joked at the table that this dish is not for the amateur eater. I recommend not telling your friends what they're eating and they might think differently about it. Sweetbreads are extremely soft, almost like a custard inside and normally panfried with a crispy edge. Next, we sampled their delicious crispy french fries and their traditional parmesan gnocchi. The gnocchi was good, but not too exciting, I would have preferred a more complex sauce. The Lamb Scottadito was wonderful. Scottadito in Italian means "burned fingers" meaning the lamb is so good you're willing to burn your fingers- which is exactly what I did! The sauce underneath the lamb was a yogurt base, similar to an Indian raita with herbs and garlic. Next we tried my favorite, country pork ribs with a salsa picante. The ribs have been brined in a deep aroma of smoke and spice. The best way to eat this rib is to get your fingers dirty and gnaw right on the bone. The salsa is made with a rich red pepper sauce, not for the faint of heart :) When the bill arrives, sweet popcorn always arrives at the table, I suppose to sweeten the deal! The popcorn is very strong, my friend commented, "it's like Christmas in your mouth." I loved sampling the menu and would be happy to return as soon as possible. 

Check out the 112 by clicking HERE

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