Sunday, November 11, 2007

Consuming Corvina at Salut

After yet another late-night shopping jaunt in Southdale, we popped in to Salut Bar Americain for dinner. Although I adore their steak sandwich, I had already had a double deluxe Butterburger from Culver's that day, so decided to try something from the seafood menu. Corvina was on offer - not a fish I was familiar with, but I decided to give it a shot.

According to some page on Geocities called "Land of Fish", Corvina is also known as white sea bass and is only found in the pacific. It is a preferred firm white fish for use in making true ceviche. Salut had clearly been buying lots of it lately, because it was all over the menu. I had the "Chez Tomas" version which was crispy seared and then served with a white wine and lemon sauce with portabello mushrooms - delicious treated this way. The crust on the fish had an almost grainy texture, but the fish itself was very mild, but substantial. It paired well with the "good" house wine of Fume Blanc. Glad to meet you Corvina - we'll be getting together again soon, I'm sure.

Strange sights & great eats at Sanctuary

My boss raved to me about the food at Sanctuary, but warned me that "the guy clearly didn't have much $$ to put into decor" so I should be sure not to judge the place on initial impressions. I was taking a prospective employee out for dinner, so I was a little nervous about trying a new place and potentially putting a cloud around this guy's interviews with us the next day. Trusting my boss's taste in food, I took the risk and am glad I did.

Sanctuary occupies one of those new buildings that have popped up near the Guthrie on Washington. The evolution of this neighborhood, with a spate of new condos, restaurants and office spaces, seems to be in full-spite of the horrid Metrodome that continues to cast its shadow over that area of town.

Upon entry, my dinner guest and I were greeted by an enthusiastic short bearded man in what looked like a tux who made very showy and pointed gesticulations of welcome as he showed us to our table. As he swept away, I was wondering where the floor show would occur. From the ceilings hung oddly traditional chandeliers that flirted heavily with kitsch and the place was furnished with high-back antique-y looking chairs that looked like they were swept from an Ozzy Osbourne estate sale. We were seated next to the very chatty bar at the back of the dining room, which was more comfortable then the mostly empty front area where we passed only one dining party of 6 young folks happily noshing amazing looking dishes and drinking wine.

Strangeness aside, it was a great meal. We both started with the carnival squash soup with truffle mouse and pasilla oil. It was exquisitely sweet, earthy and just a touch of spice to warm us out of the cold fall stupor we were in. I went decadent on the entree and opted for a surf&turf special of beef tenderloin with poached lobster in this indescribably good sauce. My life would be so much more complete if I got more lobster. We shared a massive serving of the pumpkin bread pudding with cinnamon ice cream and jalapeƱo maple sauce (compliments of the house as a thanks for stopping in). The two of us couldn't finish it, but only because of the sensory overload. It was terribly enjoyable and satisfying. Those tables should have been full on a Thursday night, so if you have not been to Sanctuary - go!