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DeRushaEats: The Dakota — The Food Is The Show


My wife and I had dinner at The Dakota last week, and it was spectacular. The next day I told several friends that I went to The Dakota and each one asked, "What show did you see?"

The jazz at The Dakota is top notch, clearly. But the real show is in the kitchen.

Executive Chef Jack Riebel won the Minnesota Monthly Food and Wine Show Local Chef Challenge this year, and it was no fluke. The guy is a master of technique and flavor.

But where are you people? Why aren't you filling this place? Last Thursday night, we had a 6:30 p.m. reservation, and besides a table of Presbyterians in town for the national convention, we were the only ones inside eating.

We both did the three-course chef's tasting menu, which at $39 is a real steal. You get your pick of the first course, main course, and dessert courses.

I highly recommend the Wild Mushroom Masa Tart. The crust of the tart was perfect and the morel mushroom flavor was just equisite over a roasted garlic custard. The bay scallop ceviche is also perfect—rather than piled into a small glass, it's spread out on a plate, so you can enjoy each lovely morsel. Avocado, serrano chile, and coriander really gave this a special flavor.

For a main course, Alyssa had a curried halibut with a coconut curry broth, spring peas, and mint. Mind-blowingly good. I had an Amish Chicken Breast with little wild rice dumplings. The bacon-jalepeno sauce had just enough bacon to give it some fat and flavor, and just enough jalepeno to give it a hint of spice. Both flavors were in perfect balance. Really great.

And the desserts are just fun. I had a berries and frozen Chevre terrine—which was like little chunks of frozen, creamy cheese. Delightful. Alyssa's chocolate creme brulee was also cool, as it had white chocolate on the bottom, dark chocolate on top.

You should really visit the dining room on Thursdays. Spend $20 on food and you get a bottle of wine for $10 (last Thursday it was a really crisp, summery vinho verde).

So do yourself a favor and go see the real show at 10th & Nicollet—the music the kitchen is creating inside the Dakota.

By the way, this Saturday, the Dakota has a day of live music on Nicollet Mall between 11th and 10th Streets. There will be four stages, including one for the kids, and I'm told Jack is going to have a hot dog stand, where he'll be grilling dogs. Should be fun. It runs from noon until 10 p.m. Details at dakotastreetfest.com.

Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
1010 Nicollet Ave., Mpls. • 612-332-1010

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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