Friday, March 4, 2011

Restaurant Week - Cosmos

Thursday night I headed out for another Restaurant Week adventure -- this time at Cosmos in the Graves Hotel downtown.  I had been to Cosmos one other time for a wine pairing and loved the space, so I was looking forward to this dinner.  The restaurant itself is very chic.  Retro-looking tables and chairs, high ceilings, open space, and this awesome back wall that is lit up with blue lights and has a "hanging" of mirrored circles that catch and reflect all of the light.  The space really sets the stage for a great experience.

The RW menu offered a lot of options, which I was very pleased to see.  We were first treated to an "amuse bouche" (one of my favorite phrases) of tuna tartar on a silver spoon.  My friend called "DIBS!" on my serving, and the server graciously offered to bring me a veggie-friendly item so I could participate in the pre-dinner amusements.  I couldn't have been more pleased with the offering.  It was a piece of slow baked tomato with candied pecans and an aged balsamic.  It was so amazingly delicious that I talked to the server for about ten minutes about the exact process of making that morsel of happiness.  They slow bake the tomatoes for about eight hours, then seed and skin them, and hang them in cheese cloth to drain off some of the tomato liquid (more on that later).  The candied pecans have an entirely different process, and the balsamic is aged about 12 years.  I could have eaten an entire meal of that tomato serving. 

My first course was the salad option, and it was fresh and crisp just like a good salad should be.  There were a few cherry tomatoes and a couple wedges of grapefruit tossed among the lettuces, and it was very lightly dressed, likely with a simple olive oil/balsamic dressing.  I adore super simple salads like this because you really get to appreciate the freshness of the ingredients when they are only accentuated by the light drizzle of oil and vinegar.  Don't get me wrong, a green salad with croutons and french dressing is also pretty tasty, but it has a time and a place, and it's NOT at Cosmos! 

My main course was their confit of artichokes, sweet potato gnocchi, shitake mushrooms, and wilted spinach.  I think I blacked out while I was eating this dish because it was so amazingly good.  The mushrooms were the focus of the dish, and they were perfectly cooked -- meaty but not chewy.  The artichokes and gnocchi were interspersed between the chunks of mushroom.  I really can't remember the particulars of this dish, except to say that I was extremely sad when it was all gone.  I desperately want to return and try it again. 

seriously, it's not steak!
 Our dessert course was another win for Cosmos.  Our server recommended the yogurt dessert over the chocolate option, and since I have no particular draw toward chocolate, I went with his recommendation.  The dessert arrived on a long, thin white plate, and the entire plate was evenly filled with vanilla greek yogurt.  There was a dollop of sweet blackberry sorbet that was the perfect complement to the tangy greek yogurt.  And the most surprising part of this dessert was the bits of herbed meringue sprinkled on the top of the yogurt.  I generally stay away from meringue in its dried form for some reason, but this was infused with an herb flavor that added a bit of savoriness to this sweet dessert.  The meringues had a bit of a crunch to them, but they melted into the bites of yogurt and sorbet to add a bit of an earthy vibe to each spoonful.  I've had a lot of great desserts in my day, but this was so simple in presentation and design yet so complex in flavor and texture that it ranks as one of the best. 

The best part of the night?  The tomato water.  The man who was kind of enough to talk through the ins and outs of my amuse bouche was also kind enough to let me try the infamous tomato water.  I was very curious about the tomato water that was served with their sea bass entree, and when I learned that it was a byproduct of my dinner amusement I was even more intrigued.  Fast forward a few minutes, and the guy showed up at our table with a small glass of this tomato water for me to try!  Who knew that the liquid drained off of a slow-baked tomato could be so delicious and refreshing?  Seriously!  I wouldn't go so far as to request a giant glass of this water as a beverage, but my friends and I had fun contemplating various uses for the sweet drink.

With our bill came tiny bites of passion fruit, dark chocolate truffles.  I don't generally eat dark chocolate since it's too bitter for me, but the combo of the bitter chocolate and the overly sweet and tart passion fruit filling was exceptional.  Plus it made paying the bill all the more enjoyable!

Cosmos's food was some of the best I've eaten in the Twin Cities and the service was also pretty fabulous.  It was busy, as is customary during RW, so our drinks sometimes got lost in the shuffle, but as a former server myself I did not mind that much.  Everyone seemed so excited about the food and eager to share the menu options with us, that I was caught up in the excitement.  Want to really impress someone?  Take them to Cosmos.

1 comment:

  1. Love the review! Let's go back for tomato water soon :)