This is why I love Spoonriver

I will seldom devote precious space on this solemn blog to high-end restaurants. There’s usually no need to trumpet how much I love them, because as far as I’m concerned anyone charging more than $20 for an entre had better damn well be serving exceptional cuisine and for me to drone on about how great they are would be overkill.

Spoonriver is an exception. My mission was to find a pre-Guthrie show eatery with food (allegedly) more consistent and service less (reportedly) dire than the Guthrie’s own Cue. Anyone who’s been to the new Guthrie already knows that Spoonriver was not only the obvious lateral price-range choice, but that it’s within mid-winter, no-jacket sprinting distance of the G’s front door.

I’ve only eaten at Spoonriver once, but boy was it tasty. After being attentively seated by the one and only Brenda herself, my companion ordered off the ever-changing menu (so ever-changing that the item she ordered has already dropped off the web site’s menu, four days hence): pork tenderloin, rubbed in black pepper, sliced into medallions served on a small bed of mashed potatoes, with a little glue-texture gravy smeared on the plate for appearances and a tiny salad of organic greens piled on a dollop of apple sauce. I purposefully closed and handed back the menu with a contented smirk when I heard the special: glazed duck breast with pineapple salsa, on a sea of pureed squash, next to a pile of steamed broccoli and greens lightly drizzled with an oil dressing.

This was the biggest, juiciest, tenderiest duck breast I’ve ever seen. Where does Brenda get these ducks? The Skull Island Duck Ranch? Where the ducks can swallow goats whole and poop out enough in one sitting to fertilize the gardens of Versailles? Furthermore, it should be noted that I eat squash about as often as I eat rat poison, and with about the same enthusiasm, but the peculiar combination of squash and duck was so astonishingly complimentary that my mother will be happy to hear that I cleaned my plate. It’ll be business as usual at Thanksgiving, however.

For dessert we shared a tiny wall of flourless chocolate tort, which came up a few points short on the Richness Scale, but it was chocolate so I was happy nonetheless.

Despite the pre-show rush, we were cordially served, fed, settled (bill-wise) and out the door in under 90 minutes, which left us copious amounts of time us to marvel at the splendid interior of the new Guthrie (new for me, remember I just got here). Did you know the experimental stage is way up on the ninth floor? Gnarly.

Unfortunately, struggling freelancers can’t afford to eat at places like Spoonriver except on round numbered anniversaries and after getting their first book deal, so it’ll probably be a while before Brenda sees me again, by which time, if things go well, I’ll have to do all dinner outings in a wig, fake moustache and fat suit so as not to be recognized, thereby skewing my review for Travel + Leisure.

Spoonriver
750 S 2nd St
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 436-2236

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Eating | 14.11.2007 10:09 | 2 Comments

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