Edit ModuleShow Tags

DeRushaEats: Chef Adam Vickerman Gems at Cafe Levain


It's been far too long since I've visited the gorgeous space at 48th & Chicago, the space that once was home to the genius of Chef Steven Brown and known as a great home for fine dining.

Since 2007, it's been a "cafe"—relaunched to serve the neighborhood with a more casual menu and a bistro feel.

Adam Vickerman was an 18-year-old kid cooking the line with Brown in 2004. After opening Trattoria Tosca and a stint as sous chef at Sea Change, he's back in South Minneapolis. For a little more than a year, he's been quietly killing it at Levain.

It's time to make a little noise about this place, because Friday night, we were one of about 10 tables sitting in Levain for an 8 p.m dinner. The service was attentive and fun, and the food was really excellent.

My wife and I started with a ramp & nettle soup ($8) that exploded with shaved radishes, sliced carrots, and the earthy, springy flavor of the ramps.

I could have made a whole meal of a trio of side dishes ($12)—the spring salad was bright and delicious with pea tendrils, radish, fennel, and asparagus. The charred kale was my favorite—a huge dish of shaved kale, with a perfect mix of lemon, olive oil, and chili. It was spicy and tart, one of the most welcome combinations you can have. We also had the roasted mushrooms, served with shallots, garlic, and again, a dose of lemon—quite nice.

My wife and I also shared the short rib burger ($12) which was even more decadent than the famous Vincent Burger. Topped with a relish of charred romaine lettuce and onion, and a cheddar fondue, just half of the burger was more than enough to fill me up. It's one of the better burgers in town.

The wine list is perfect for a french Bistro feel: We liked the 2008 Baron des Chartrons Bordeaux well enough, an easy drinking merlot/cab blend.

I do hate the entrance to this place—it seems like it's purposely set up as a secret. Turtle Bread Company has the marquee exposure on Chicago; Levain has the small sign over the door facing 48th Street. The dining room is open to the kitchen—perfect for you to keep your eye on a young chef who's getting the job done.

Cafe Levain
4762 Chicago Ave. S., Mpls.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

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.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Taste Blog

Pineapple in Every Bite Upside-Down Cake Recipe

Enjoy this twist on the classic cake with chunks of sweet, juicy pineapple maximizing the fruit-to-cake ratio in every taste

3 Drinks to Give Winter the Kiss-Off

West Seventh in St. Paul is bursting with drink options to usher in spring (which is just around the corner, right?)

Minnesota-Grown Greens Now Available Year Round

New locally and sustainably produced Revol Greens makes eating clean and green throughout the year even easier

What to Buy for the Perfect Minnesota Home Bar

From vodka, gin, bourbon, rum, and beyond: Minnesota spirit-makers recommend the best home-bar companions

Quick Moroccan Chicken over Couscous Recipe

Enjoy the exotic flavors of a long-simmered tagine in this easy version that’s quick enough for a weeknight

No-Fail Caramel Corn Recipe

Celebrate National Caramel Corn Day with this sweet crunchy treat—no special equipment needed with this easy recipe

Best Restaurant Bargains Before A Target Field Minnesota Twins Game

They're offering baseball specials, but do you know where to go? Check out these good deals on food before Twins games.

3 Things to Eat This Week: April 4-8

Tropical cake, drinkable flowers, and some mouth-searing spice

Edina Bistro Celebrates National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day

Pinstripes offers a sophisticated twist on the childhood favorite with a five-course meal for two in honor of PB&J Day (April 2)
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags