Molecular gastronomy has popped up in restaurants around the Twin Cities from time to time, but no one has harnessed it quite so successfully as the cool kids on the Robbinsdale block, Travail. This week they unveiled their newest science experiment, the Alinea-inspired so-called “anti-griddle” — it features a marble slab so cold, it’s hot.
Soaked for at least 10 minutes in liquid nitrogen (which boils at about -320° F), the slab truly appears to cook the food placed atop it. This week they are featuring a Lemon Meringue pie, deconstructed ($4). Consisting of browned butter creme anglaise, and a butter-based lemon curd, the “pie” is also adorned with discs of crust (Grandma’s recipe, I’m assured), glace lemon, and perfectly browned meringue with a mere sprinkle of picked thyme. Dabbed in random sequence on the griddle, the creme anglaise and lemon curd merge together to create a velvety frozen custard of sorts, while the pie crust is a buttery and flaky disc, and the delicate lemon slice has a bit of chew that resembles the last sliver of a hard candy immediately before it dissolves on your tongue.