Pat’s Tap, the latest of Kim and Kari Bartmann’s creations, opened in September on Nicollet and 35th St, a stretch of South Minneapolis that has been tragically barren of proper watering holes for some time. Along with a pool table, skee-ball, and some bizarre poodle-themed wallpaper, Pat’s comes with a fully stocked menu — including its very own duck burger ($14).
The burger is fatty and well seasoned, garnished simply by a pile of cool bean sprouts, cilantro, and a swipe of wasabi mayo (more, please!). On the toasted sesame bun, the flavor combination is light and fresh and allows the flavor of the meat to take center stage.
The patty itself has the texture and peppery bite of sausage. The meat is ground with a bit of duck skin and fat so that the burger self-bastes as it cooks. Even so, the burger’s well-done default doesn’t quite alert you to the fact that it’s fowl, making it a good bite for duck newbies but perhaps not the best exhibition of its unique flavor.
The sandwich’s supporting cast is fantastic: good French fries or golden, velum-like homemade potato chips that shatter delicately when bitten. They are salty and damn near as addictive as the homemade Cheez-Its that arrive before your meal in a little white cup. While the level of crunch may vary from cracker to cracker, they are thick and buttery, the kind of snack that has the potential to reach the cult status of those wicked cheddar biscuits over at, um, Red Lobster.
With its hefty price tag, Pat’s duck burger might not be what patrons go clamoring for as they order a third can of Buffalo Sweat and stare too long at a coquettish poodle strolling the walls, but it emphasizes the Bartmanns’ eye for quality details, down to the pinstriped cloth napkins and custom cocktail menu. See, you can play your skee-ball and eat well too.
Gastro pub in South Minneapolis
3510 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55408
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED: No / No
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / Yes, limited
PRICE RANGE: Small plates $4-$12, entrees $9-$18