If you’ve been looking for an amazing food experience that won’t end in sure fire buyers remorse, then here’s a little tip for you; Café Levain in South Minneapolis. It’s fine dining without the excess of dollar signs, especially if you go for their Sunday night dinner special. It’s a full three course meal for $25 and unlike some other places, you won’t leave Levain hungry. I promise.
The three course Sunday menu changes often. This means that you’ll always be greeted with something new and fresh. If there’s anything that you don’t want out of a restaurant experience, it’s a dull moment, and Café Levain doesn’t disappoint. On this particular evening, the courses on the menu consisted of a delicious tomato salad, the option of a fried chicken or diver scallop entree, and a decedent dessert.
The tomato salad was one of those plates of food that perfectly represents the flavors of what’s currently in season. The plump variety of multi-colored heirlooms are piled together and served with mini-beets, croutons, and a few sprigs of arugula. The plate is dressed with a drizzle of olive oil and a thick balsamic vinegar. The acidity from the vinegar sweetly snuggles up to the already existing acidity and sweetness of the ripe tomatoes. The earthiness of the beets and the pepperiness from the arugula add additional dimensions to the dish while the croutons add a simple, yet much needed texture. This dish is proof that good food need not be overly complicated.
The fried chicken was without question some of the best in the city. The guys at Café Levain nailed the crunchy exterior. The nice thing about fried chicken at a place that knows how to do it is that the crust seals out all of the additional grease so you’re never going to wind up with a puddle of fryer juice drowning out everything else on your plate. HaZaa! When you couple that crispy, meaty chicken up with creamy, rich polenta, sweet corn, wild mushrooms, and fresh chives you’ve got yourself a little platter of love my friends.
The scallop dish was virtually the same as the chicken, only sub scallops. It’s amazing how well both meats were able to stand up to the other ingredients, but in completely different ways. The chicken entree was a bit richer than its scallop counterpart, but scallops have a natural sweetness that plays well with corn. The richness of the dishes other components, touched with a hint of spice, helped to cut through and prevent it from becoming overly sweet. If there’s any one thing that Chef Adam Vickerman and crew at Café Levain can do, its balance flavors.
The desserts at Café Levain are out of this world! There’s not too much more that I can say about this decedent little devil that the picture above doesn’t say for me. It’s got an intensely rich, yet smooth chocolate mousse. It’s got a banana crème puree that’s equally as dense and creamy, yet it has an incredibly fresh banana flavor. It’s got caramelized banana’s, because, why not?! It’s got chocolate cookie crumbles, because also, why not?! And to up the ante just a little bit more, it comes with three very light crepes that you can use to take all of those amazing components decorating your plate and wrap them up into a beautiful dessert taco. I was then and still am now, mostly speechless when it comes to this dish. I’m kind of tearing up just thinking about how much I miss it and I’m the kind of person that’s often okay with skipping the dessert course.
And this brings us back to the initial point; good food does not need to cost an epic amount of money. This meal, as I’ve laid out before you, cost $25. That’s right kiddo’s, $25 gets you three tremendous plates of in season, masterfully crafted food that you’ll certainly be talking about long after the meal is finished. I can’t urge you enough to get down there ASAP and discover just how good food can be.
4762 Chicago Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55407