Today I met up with some of my lawyer friends to talk law and eat lunch. We settled on the Blackbird Cafe in Minneapolis, which was great since I had yet to see what all the fuss was about. I never went to the original Blackbird Cafe before it burned down (story here), but if it was anything like the new version, I can tell why the local foodies were devastated by its temporary loss.
Blackbird Cafe is on the corner of Nicollet and 38th street and it's absolutely charming. Big windows, lots of light, and enough space that you don't feel lost but small enough to still have a cozy atmosphere. I sat in a booth so I didn't have a chance to really check out the digs, but I certainly noticed the collection of deer antlers on the wall, and there was an adorable, retro lamp on our table. I resisted the urge to steal it, mostly because lawyers should not commit crimes. At least in public.
It was pretty quiet inside, but I blame the epic snowstorm for the lack of patrons. We had terrific service -- attentive but not overbearing. It's a fine line, but they did it right. The lunch menu offered quite a few veggie-friendly options, including a delicious-sounding celery and brie soup. After a long, internal debate about what to order, I settled on the spicy peanut noodles.
Really -- what is not to love about this dish? The udon noodles were delicious and meaty, the veggies were sauteed but still had a bit of a bite to them, the sauce was delicate with a kick, and the fried egg on top just made my heart melt. The dish had such complexity of textures. I loved the sprouts that garnished the top because they added an extra bite and a hint of bitterness and the crushed peanuts added another kind of crunch. The tofu was lightly fried but still creamy and pulled a lot of the sauce's flavor. Plus the dish had cilantro and you just can't go wrong there. Add a little squeeze of the lemon wedges nestled in the noodles and you are set for perfection. If I had one teensy complaint, it was that the fried egg was a bit overdone. Having more yolk to swirl around would have thickened up the sauce a bit. (Plus I'm beginning to develop an unnatural love for egg yolks.) But overall, it was easy to fall in love with this steaming bowl of noodles.
My friend ordered a sandwich and I was able to snag a few french fries off of her plate. I love french fries -- they are one of my favorite foods. Anytime I go to a new restaurant I make sure someone in my group has ordered the fries so I can check them out. These fries did not disappoint. They were crispy and salty in all of the best ways. Next time I go to the Blackbird, I need to order a side of these tasty bites.
Blackbird Cafe -- you lived up to the hype. I'll certainly be back to try the rest of the delicious eats.