The newly opened Book Club combines New Scandinavian decor with a cosmopolitan menu to ably fill the shoes of longtime neighborhood favorite Cafe Maude. Our meal ranged a bit (from an $18, meticulous-to-the-point-of-stuffy, deconstructed “rice bowl” to a rich and savory three-day porchetta sandwich), but our dessert was a surprising home run. It was a fairly low-key take on a banana split ($8.50) that was balanced, thoughtful, and utterly delicious.
Three things set this particular split apart from its peers:
1) The bananas have a nice, crackly, creme-brulee-like caramel crust on them. It’s as much of a texture element as a flavor element, and it works on both levels.
2) The sugar level of the dish is surprisingly low. Even the ice cream and the banana-flavored whipped cream are reasonably mellow, which lets the natural sweetness of the banana come to the forefront and dominate the dish.
3) The overall size of the split couldn’t be more perfect. It’s enough for two people to share without any annoyance or competitive eating, but it’s not so big that anyone’s going to injure themselves.
Book Club’s chef, Asher Miller, impressed us back in the day with his consistently inspired cooking at Wolfgang Puck’s 20.21. It’s nice to see his considerable talents on display in Armatage.
Book Club, 5411 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis; 612.822.5411