DeRushaEats: Collage Global Cafe in Osseo
By Jason DeRusha
My corner of the Twin Cities metro area isn't exactly known for innovative food options. We have every chain restaurant known to man, and Pittsburgh Blue in Maple Grove. We used to have a great, independent wine bar/bistro in Osseo called Nectar.
Nectar closed (bringing the percentage of suburban restaurants I reviewed for this magazine close to 80% or so), and I wept for our area.
But I weep no more, thanks to Kavita Mehta, and what she's trying to do with Collage Global Cafe in that same space in Osseo.
Kavita is one of the owners of Ethnic Foods Company, this amazing online business where she sells 450 spice blends at indianfoodsco.com—she told me she's been doing it for nearly twenty years.
So no surprise that she's passionate about great ingredients. She's always wanted to have a restaurant, and when Nectar moved out, she got the chance. Her menu is short, but excellent. She told me she uses local ingredients—basically going to the farmers markets in Osseo and Maple Grove, and buying whatever she can. She uses her incredible spices mixed with local, fresh food, and creates some real magic on the plate.
It's not all Indian food, it's a "collage" of international flavors.
The samosa was excellent, with a chutney on the side that had me nearly licking the plate. Light crispy samosa with great flavors inside, and a bright, flavorful chutney for $5.
The Indian pizza was huge, with a nice flatbread-style crust, chicken tandoori and a minty sauce. Quite good. And the peanut chicken curry was really great. Rich spices, layered without being spicy.
Don't be afraid of the eggplant—perfectly in season right now, and prepared with lemon, garlic and a nice yogurt sauce.
The space doubles as a retail store for the spices - including Mehta's own Akita line of crockpot-ready dishes. Her wine list right now is insane, with everything under $20 a bottle when we visited.
But go to Osseo (right up 169 by Brooklyn Park and Maple Grove) and go visit Kavita Mehta and Collage, and end my curse. I can't be responsible for another great restaurant closing up shop!
Collage Cafe and Deli
204 Central Avenue