January 5, 2016

Cedar + Stone Cold Believer

Everyone knows that I speak my mind, I don’t hold back, it’s just how I am, I lay it on the line… When it comes to food, let’s face it, that’s how it should be! Our next exceptional restaurant made me a, "Stone Cold Believer" and I think the fellas of 38 Special would agree. They even sang about it!

The newest addition to the Twin Cities food scene is indeed exceptional and providing a fine dining experience like none other. Cedar + Stone Urban Table, located inside the all new J.W. Marriott at the Mall of America is priding themselves in providing the very best to its consumers. That means that all the ingredients come from local farms right here in Minnesota and the hand crafted dishes are “inspired by Minnesota’s natural roots & local culture.”

My wife and I joined neighbors of ours for a New Year’s dinner, away from the kiddos and just enjoyed each-others company and some wonderful food and adult beverages. This place is so new that a website doesn’t even exist yet to provide you with a menu or the names of our dishes. Do not fear the Food Gnawledge master is here to help! Our dishes consisted of the following and I will, of course, break them down for you; Fresh Scallops and Pork Belly, Halibut Steak, Braised Short Rib and Skirt Steak.

For once, I’ll start with my meal. I went with the Scallops and Pork Belly. Four large and perfectly prepared scallops served with some very tender pork belly and served over a delicious cappers and couscous medley, fresh corn and lemon grass. These scallops were seriously cooked perfectly and the entire dish together was something I’ve really never experienced, but very delicious and worth a consideration.

My wife decided to go with the Halibut Steak and I’m glad she did. A large halibut steak served over a fresh sweet cabbage, fresh spinach, carrot puree and olive oil. After just one bite, I wanted to trade dishes! While I have seen a bit larger halibut steaks on some of my other favorite restaurants, theirs was still cooked to perfection and very delicious. What made this dish so amazing was actually the carrot puree. Whatever they did to doctor this up should never be changed and will most likely never be duplicated. The sight of spinach and cabbage makes me gag (not completely), but this was something “Special”. See what I did there?

We didn’t get a chance to try our neighbor’s plates and why would we? It’s their food! While they’re very open to trying new things, they had plenty of questions for us on the menu. Being as Gnawledgable as my wife and I are about food, it was easy to assist and it was great to see the excitement in trying a new place. The conversation even helped with the re-branding of the Gnaw Blog and forming Food Gnawledge. Thanks Dave!

Ok, back to the good stuff… Our neighbor Dave decided to go with the Braised Short Rib served atop mashed Yukon Gold Fingerlings and Au Jus. Slow cooked for 12 hours, sounds like the type of meat I want to enjoy! Again, while we didn’t have an opportunity to test out the plate ourselves, there wasn’t a morsel left on his plate and he had nothing but positive things to say about it. I’d say he made the right decision.

His wife Jennifer made a very smart decision and going with the Skirt Steak. Most butchers my wife and I have chatted with, say they serve this cut of meat for their own families and secret in the industry. It’s rarely found at restaurants and it’s one of the most tender and delicious cuts off the animal. It came served with the same delicious mashed Yukon Gold Fingerlings and some leafy greens. The only thing I would say Jennifer did wrong with this dish...... Ordering it well done! So we all gave her a little razzing, but again, nothing was left on her plate. Yet another, great choice!

Wait, wait, wait, wait… “Didn’t you get any appetizers?” Why yes, yes we did! In fact, we have a first for this foodie. I absolutely refuse to eat Brussels sprouts and no matter how they’re prepared, they always taste like cardboard. However, I would have to agree with Jennifer when she said, “I would come here for lunch while shopping, just for these!” Yes, they were that damn good! Prepared with an enjoyable amount of pancetta chunks and a sweet glaze, I would indeed go back for these in a heartbeat!

If you wanna climb that ladder, you wanna make it to the top and become a Cedar + Stone Cold Believer like myself, it takes just one thing according to 38 Special… “Gotta give it all y’ got!” Executive Chef, Everton Clarke and his staff are doing just that and I applaud them.

Cedar + Stone Urban Table
J.W. Marriott Hotel
Mall of America's North End

No comments: