The Tap: Restaurant Openings and Closings for Mid-May

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This week in the Tap: A look ahead at upcoming restaurants, notes about spots that have closed, and about those that have recently opened.

The Tap is the metro area’s comprehensive restaurant buzz roundup, so if you see a new or newly shuttered restaurant, or anything that’s “coming soon,” email Tap editor James Norton at editor@heavytable.com.

NOW OPEN

Jamie Malone at Sea Change

Peter Sieve & Justin Blair / Heavy Table

  • Grand Cafe, 3804 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis | Now owned by chefs Jamie Malone (above) and Erik Anderson, the cafe features cooking with a French viewpoint along with a new stone patio at the side of the building.
  • Tenant4300 Bryant Ave S, Minneapolis | A tasting-menu-only restaurant in the former Piccolo space.
  • Black Stack Brewing, 755 Prior Ave N, St. Paul | Sharing a complex with Can Can Wonderland.
  • Cardigan Donuts, 40 7th St S, Minneapolis | More action within the “fancy doughnut” sphere.
  • Kado no Mise, 30 1st St N, Minneapolis | Carefully crafted Japanese fare at Kado ne Mise; sister restaurant Kaiseki Furukawa is on the way.
  • Colossal Cafe, 2403 E 38th St, Minneapolis| New, larger cafe in the former Pilgrimage location.
  • La Costa, 194 Cesar Chavez St, St. Paul | Billed as the first Mexican sports bar in Minnesota.
  • Burrigato, 314 15th Ave SE, Minneapolis | The sushi + burrito trend kicked off by SotaRol refuses to die.
  • J Selby’s, 169 Victoria St N, St. Paul | Vegan restaurant that prefers to call itself “plant-based.”
  • The Early Bird, 1612 Harmon Pl, Minneapolis | Formerly Bearcat, formerly Third Bird, still a Kim Bartmann joint. Sometimes referred to just as “The Bird,” further muddying the waters.
Brianna Stachowski / Heavy Table

Brianna Stachowski / Heavy Table



Jambo! Kitchen in Cedar-Riverside, Minneapolis

Jambo! Kitchen, the new restaurant in Cedar-Riverside’s African Development Center, is out to replicate the success of its predecessor, Afro-Deli, which moved to the East Bank of the University of Minnesota.

Chef Jamal Hashi’s “fast casual” menu draws inspiration from East Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, and features rice bowls, tacos, and sandwiches. But the crown jewel? Bold and beautiful bisbaas sauce. Featuring garlic and peppers (jalapeño, we believe), the fiery Somali condiment burned our innards and won our hearts.

Our first date with bisbaas was unexpected. Unfamiliar with the sauce offerings for a lamb rice bowl ($8, below), we simply selected the one with the coolest sounding name. The bowl didn’t need a condiment — gyro-like lamb, yellow-tinted “African rice,” and small pieces of fresh pineapple were a well-balanced flavorful combo — but the bisbaas is what landed the lamb bowl at the top of the Heavy Table’s weekly Hot Five list. It was a revelation, like the first time we spooned a dollop of chimichurri onto a juicy hanger steak.

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Working our way through the menu, bisbaas remained our faithful sidekick. For instance, the sandwiches we tried lacked chutzpah, but bisbaas added some much-needed attitude. Without it, The Haji ($7, below) — ground beef, fresh vegetables, and a Thousand-Island-style dressing on a sturdy roll — was satisfying but not attention grabbing, and its accompanying fresh-cut fries literally fell down on the job.

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Even Chef Hashi’s best-known dish, Sahel Sliders ($8, below), didn’t win us over. Lean, ground camel patties weren’t particularly flavorful, but were too chewy for our tastes. A dense pretzel bun accentuated the unfortunate texture. Happily, some sweet pickles and, of course, a slathering of the lovely, light-green bisbaas sauce provided character.

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Only one main dish didn’t beg for bisbaas — the Manchurian taco ($5, below). A refreshingly creative vegetarian option, the taco features a wonderful paratha bread “tortilla” filled with cauliflower florets. But the concoction is too rich, and big flavors fight each other. The coating on the “Manchurian” cauliflower and a lather of Thousand Island-ish sauce smothered fresh celery, carrot, and cabbage, and gave the taco an unpleasant level of sweetness. Bisbass would only have added to the chaos.

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

We were slightly more disposed to a Vegetarian Sambusa ($2). We again admired the shell, which was light and had a nice crackle, like a wonton. The stuffing, however, was ho-hum, bringing to mind the frozen “mixed vegetables” we pushed aside as kids.

Taken together, the food at Jambo! Kitchen is decidedly uneven — not unusual for such a young restaurant. But if Chef Hashi successfully recalibrates some of his promising dishes and keeps the bisbaas flowing, Jambo! may very well rival the success of its predecessor.

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Jambo! Kitchen
Fast casual African in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis

1939 5th St S
Minneapolis, MN 55455
612.354.7251
GENERAL MANAGER / CHEF:  Mahad Ibrahim / Jamal Hashi
HOURS:
Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
BAR: No
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED?: No
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / Yes
ENTREE RANGE:
 $5-$8
NOISE LEVEL: Moderate
PARKING: Street



Heavy Table Hot Five: May 12-18

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Each Friday, this list will track five of the best things Heavy Table’s writers, editors, and photographers have recently bitten or sipped. Have a suggestion for the Hot Five? Email editor@heavytable.com.

shepherd-song-banner-ad-horiz-3The Hot Five is a weekly feature created by the Heavy Table and supported by Shepherd Song Farm.

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James Norton / Heavy Table

James Norton / Heavy Table

1-new - one - hot fiveLoukoumades at The Naughty Greek
Desserts at The Naughty Greek are an unexpected powerhouse. The Call Me Fluffy (Loukoumades) are described as “fluffy mini donuts served warm with Greek thyme honey, cinnamon and powdered sugar,” but they’re closer to the offspring of a beignet married to a hunk of State Fair funnel cake. They’ve got a beignet’s shape and something of its tender interior, but the exterior is crunchier and rougher, and it lacks the beignet’s elasticity. The thyme honey and cinnamon dipping sauce is delightful, and the combination with the warm doughnuts is a happy one indeed.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from an upcoming review by James Norton]

Amy Rea / Heavy Table

Amy Rea / Heavy Table

2-new - two - hot fiveBulgogi Burger at Gogi Bros.
The Bulgogi Burger at Gogi Bros. is not so much a burger as it is a Korean barbecued beef sandwich. An enormous amount of tender, slightly sweet beef slices are matched by a robust helping of pungent, fried kimchi and pepperjack cheese. The fried egg is optional, but why not? Even the fries are excellent, very crispy and hot.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Amy Rea]

James Norton / Heavy Table

James Norton / Heavy Table

3-new - three hot fiveLemonade at Zait and Za’atar
Zait and Za’atar’s fresh-squeezed lemonade may be the best in town. The sugar-to-citrus level is perfect: It’s incredibly tart and compensatingly sweet, with an herbal supporting note that makes for a deep, balanced, thirst-quenching beverage of the highest order.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from an upcoming review by James Norton]

James Norton / Heavy Table

James Norton / Heavy Table

4-new four hot fivePork, Noodles, and Fire-Roasted Vegetables at the Fulton + Chef Camp Whole Hog Feast
Chef Camp’s Whole Hog feast was a union of many wonderful local forces: the wild rice noodles of Dumpling and Strand, pork from Tangletown Gardens Farm cooked by Erik Sather of Lowry Hill Meats, vegetables roasted by Yia Vang of Union Kitchen, and beer from Fulton, among others. The dish itself was delicious — rich, sweet, tender pork swimming in perfectly cooked al dente noodles with slightly charred, soft, fire-roasted veggies, all served up in a classic Chinese-American takeout container, followed by s’mores by North Mallow.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by James Norton]

Amy Rea / Heavy Table

Amy Rea / Heavy Table

5-new -five Emerson, Lake & Palmer at Rustica
Since I’m someone who’s not wild about sweet beverages, summer coolers can be hard to come by. Rustica Bakery fills the need with its Emerson, Lake & Palmer, a mixture of mouth-puckering grapefruit juice and iced black tea. If that’s too potent, you could add sugar. But if you’re like me, that zing is just the refreshing chill you need on a warm day.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Amy Rea]



Half Caff from Just Coffee Co-op

Amy Rea / Heavy Table

Amy Rea / Heavy Table

There are people who drink caffeine all day long. Then there are people who heroically avoid it and drink only decaffeinated products. But in between, there’s a third group: the half-caffers.

People go half-caff for a number of reasons, whether it’s because they want to give up some, but not all, of their caffeine for general health and well-being issues or they’re en route to weaning themselves from caffeine altogether. Coffee drinks like lattes and mochas can easily be customized this way, but for the home brewer, there isn’t always a lot of choice, other than trying to mix your own bean blends and hope they turn out OK. For a while, Minneapolis’ Peace Coffee offered Split Decision, a coffee available in whole bean or ground, but they recently announced they’re discontinuing it as part of an effort to freshen up their line.

Fortunately, there’s an alternative not that far away. Just Coffee Co-op in Madison, Wis., offers Half Caff, a blend of Guatemalan and Sumatran coffee beans that’s low-acid and rich and smooth in flavor. It’s something they’ve offered since the early 2000s, after a customer came to their booth at a farmers market and suggested the idea, noting that a lot of people would love to have the option of a half-caff blend.

Just Coffee tried the idea, playing with different roasts until they found a combination they liked, and it has been a popular item for them ever since. The beans are roasted separately, which gives staff the chance to sample them on their own and make sure they pair well with each other before combining them for sale. The decaf portion comes from beans that are water-washed, allowing Just to retain the organic label for them.

Half Caff can be ordered directly from Just Coffee in either whole bean or a choice of three grinds, at a price of $14 for 12 ounces, $32 for 2 pounds, or $73 for 5 pounds. Some Twin Cities co-ops, such as Eastside and Lakewinds, carry the 12-ounce size as well for $12-$14, depending on location.



A Butcher, A Forager, and Bon Appetit: Meet the Chefs of Chef Camp’s Second Session

Becca Dilley Photography

Becca Dilley Photography

This post is sponsored by Chef Camp.

Chef Camp is a three-day wilderness culinary retreat where chef-led campfire cooking classes, foraging, and gourmet meals mix with classic summer-camp activities. We take over an entire camp 90 minutes north of Minneapolis-St. Paul and fill it with feasts, camp activities, and cooking classes taught by some of the best chefs in the region. Open to everyone who loves food and cooking!

Interest in our first session (Sept. 1-3) was so high we booked a second weekend with five new chef-instructors for Sept. 8-10! If you’re up for an adventure, join us in the north woods!

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MEET THE SESSION TWO CHEFS:

jd horizontalJD FRATZKE

JD Fratzke was born in the Mississippi River Valley of southeastern Minnesota in the last quarter of the 20th century. He began working in restaurants as a teenager and is now the chef and co-owner of Bar Brigade in St. Paul. JD lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Lisa, a painter, and their daughter, Nina Jeann. He continues to dedicate his life to kindness, deliciousness, and a fierce desire to be outside.

leone horizontalBRAD LEONE

Brad Leone is the test kitchen manager at Bon Appétit in New York City. Fermentation and offbeat methods of cooking have been his passion both at work and at home as documented in his video series It’s Alive! Born in northern New Jersey (the pretty part), Brad grew up hunting and fishing with his dad and got to spend a lot of time in the woods. Now he channels his love of cooking into keeping up an eye-popping pantry at Bon Appétit, nowadays full of projects like homemade miso, kombucha, and a Mexican fermented-pineapple brew called tepache.

colon horizontalNETTIE COLÓN

Born in New York City and raised in Puerto Rico, Nettie Colón spent her formative years learning the traditional cooking methods of the island with her grandmother and her friends. Nettie was chef de cuisine for over a decade at Luciaʼs Restaurant & Wine Bar in Uptown, Minneapolis. For seven years Nettie taught Mayan cuisine classes in the Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka’an in Tulum, Yucatan Peninsula. She currently runs creative pop-up events through her company Red Hen Gastrolab.

merkel horizontalBRIAN MERKEL

After an enjoyable childhood in Michigan, Brian Merkel hit the road. Artist-turned-meat-guy, his path has led him to Portland, Detroit, New York, and San Francisco. He is now one of many men to have followed a woman back to Minnesota. These days you can find him as the in-house butcher at Tullibee, making sausage and charcuterie and tending to his custom dry-aging program. To Brian, the craft of butchery and charcuterie is a creative practice that’s rich in cultural history. He prefers cold winters, freshwater fish, old country music, dry riesling, sour beer, and a stiff boning knife. When he says heʼll put a ham in your chimney, heʼs not speaking in metaphor.

leaf horizontalLUKAS LEAF

Lukas Leaf spends his free time fishing, foraging, hunting, camping, and cooking his way through the great outdoors. He serves on the board of the Minnesota chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, is the chef of Modern Carnivore, and works as the sporting outreach coordinator for Sportsmen For the Boundary Waters. He was the executive chef at Al Vento restaurant in Minneapolis for five years.

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