Review: Spoon and Stable in the North Loop

It’s not every Minneapolis restaurant that has global superchefs Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller tweeting photos from its opening, to the tune of 1,400 likes. A bit of eavesdropping in the Spoon and Stable bar—among the scrum of restaurant owners, critics, bloggers, and the rest of the reservation-less—reveals we’ve become (subtly, of course) starstruck. “Oh, we know Gavin’s parents,” a finely coiffed woman boasted to an acquaintance, “from Bloomington.”

That’s Gavin Kaysen, of course, Minnesota boy made good whose New York City culinary career went mostly unnoticed by the local foodie-rati until his return was announced.

Instantly, his resumé was on everyone’s lips: Café Boulud, Food & Wine Best New Chef, James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year. Chef Kaysen whipped up excitement as voluminously as cream, luring talent from some of the Cities’ best eateries. Soon after S&S opened, a 10 p.m. reservation was going for $50 on Craigslist.

But Kaysen’s intention isn’t haute-cuisine temple. The food may be meticulous, but the gestalt is homey (albeit in an inhabiting-a-Crate-&-Barrel-catalog way). So don’t approach the menu by trying to compare every dish against the current local benchmark or you’ll feel like someone trying to photograph sunsets instead of just taking them in.

Immaculate technique and inspired flavor pairings abound. Puréed Cinderella pumpkin soup, dressed with apple, is worth trading a glass slipper. Ditto for the pappardelle noodles, cooked to the stiff/soft texture of a starched bed sheet and paired with rich goat ragout.

Kaysen aces gourmet global soul food: Grilled pork takes a tour of Thailand (with its meaty bone served on an accompanying china dish for those who aren’t too inhibited to gnaw). The creamy spinach with fried cheese curds suggest State Fair–style saag paneer and the duck meat loaf sliders a luxurious alternative to the Jucy Lucy. S&S not only tastes of modern Minnesota, but pushes us one bite closer to becoming a world-class food city.

Spoon and Stable
211 N. First St., Mpls.