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“Lovely Dinner” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Piccolo

Piccolo
4300 Bryant Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55409
612-827-8111
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Ranked #87 of 1,405 Restaurants in Minneapolis
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: 43rd Street
Transit: Metro Transit Route 4
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Lovely Dinner”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2013

This restaurant specializes in small plates. Which sounds as though it is one of those places where one will walk away hungry after paying a lot. But, somehow, it does not work that way. yes, the portions are small. And there will only be 3 or 4 courses. But it works. The combinations, the pacing, the tastes all combine to make for a thoroughly satisfying meal experience. Each of the 4 of us at the table ordered somewhat differently and every one of us came away sated and happy. There has been a lot of hype about this restaurant since it opened. In this case, it is quite justified!

  • Visited April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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70 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Conn.
Top Contributor
232 reviews 232 reviews
181 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 82 cities Reviews in 82 cities
139 helpful votes 139 helpful votes
“Piccolo (MSP) – Food was Great; Staff was Dispicable Thee”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

I was incredibly excited when I finally secured a reservation at Dennis Flicker’s Piccolo Restaurant. I entered with great anticipation for enjoying the creative genius of one of the most highly regarded chefs in the Twin Cities. The restaurant is small by comparison to many in the area, the front room seats approximately 24 guests primarily in banquettes that fill two of the walls. There is a large painting plus a mirror overlooking the area creating a warm, yet open environment.

The menu requires a little explaining. It is broken into five sections, with three choices in each. You can choose the five-course fixed price culinary adventure for $52 (one from each of the sections) or choose from any of the options to create your own individual experience. The portions are incredibly small, borderline Lilliputian; I would guesstimate a few bites would finish each of the dishes. The server does make mention of the size but even with that advanced notice I found them even smaller than I assumed.

I decided on three-courses that included (a) Soft poached duck egg with hazelnuts, smoked bacon, foie gras and pine cone syrup; (b) Dungeness crab “parfait” with hearts of palm, French breakfast radishes, crab butter and sea salt; and (c) Braised pork cheeks with figs, truffles, potato and lardo (different than the on-line menu).

As I waited, the server brought four slices of pumpernickel and some butter that was topped with a touch of sea salt. The bread was room temperature, not warmed prior to delivery, disappointing that such a simple step is missed. The flavors of the bread and butter with the touch of the sea salt were very good.

The duck egg arrived. From a visual point of view it was beautiful, but I was surprised there was no aroma; after one bite I understood. The egg was served at room temperature. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and that was the intent, but when I order a poached egg, I assume it would be served warm. When opened, the egg exuded the creamy yolk, but there was no seasoning at all on the egg; it was a bland, cold, previously poached egg. The hazelnuts were a good complement for both its texture and flavor but the miniature rasher of bacon was the only ingredient that I really enjoyed. This was a badly executed dish.

I was a little concerned about all of the positive press after this introduction, but the next two courses changed my view completely.

The “Parfait” was fantastic. A creamy custard lined the bottom of the jar with several pieces of Dungeness crab sitting atop and then a few slices of hearts of palm and radishes finished the glass-enclosed presentation. The dish was a decadent interpretation of creaminess and flavor. Dungeness is one of my favorite varieties of crab and this was perfectly prepared, moist, with delicious flavor; the chef did this mollusk justice. Not as pleasing was the crab butter and radish combination. I loved the breakfast radishes, it was a first for me, but the crab butter was very off-putting to the palate and reduced the enjoyment.

The “pork cheeks” was delicious. It was not multiple “cheeks,” but a small piece of a single cheek. Sitting next to the cheek was a small cube of potato and sitting atop were two small sections of the fig. All of these items were nestled in a creamy sauce. The combination of these ingredients was divine. The cheek was moist, flavorful, succulent and full of richness. The sweetness of the figs was a perfect complement and the texture of the potato added yet another level. Then the creaminess of the sauce offered and incredibly soothing addition. I only wish it was larger as this was one of the best dishes I have ever tasted. As an aside, I struggled to find the truffles or the lardo, but this was delicious with or without.

Unfortunately the service and staff were the polar opposite to the brilliance of some of the preparations. As much as my server was pleasant, the lightning pace of the meal was unacceptable. The three courses were delivered in less than thirty minutes. There was no time to savor, no time to contemplate, no time to reflect and no time to relax. It was get him in and get him out. I mentioned this to the server, who checked the tickets to confirm my point, and he apologized, stating it was his fault. This was the professional response.

Then my overall dining experience was completely destroyed. When I mentioned this to the manager (he approached the table), instead of a professional response or an offer for a relaxing cup of coffee or dessert, he confronted me, and his final words were, “I will just refund your money so you never have to come back.” His actions were totally uncalled for, entirely unprofessional and completely out of line. There is no reason for me or anyone else to be treated in this manner.

As much as the last two courses were some of the best cuisine I have ever experienced, there are too many great restaurants in the Twin Cities to eat…places who treat their guests with respect, and who understand good customer service. Piccolo’s staff needs some significant training before I would recommend or return.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
“Great fine dining”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013

A really nice spot, with a cuisine well below average for Minneapolis. Really nice for foodies and lovers of fine dining. 5 courses tasting menu for $52. The dishes are small but at the end of the menu it is just what you needed. Every dish we had was really creative and really tasty, from smoked king crab to a fantastic red drum. The dessert was ok but could be better after the really nice dishes. All in all a great moment, I will definitely go back.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quebec City, Canada
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Overpriced and overrated”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2013

To be honest, the food at Piccolo is not that bad. The food is somewhat tasty, relatively trendy, and uniquely modern. The price and the portions however, is a completely different story. The portions are about the size, perhaps just slightly larger, of the food samples that are given at Costco and Sam's Club. In case you're thinking I'm one of those reviewers that are all about the quantity over the quality, I should let you know that I'm five feet tall and 90 pounds. Needless to say, I don't need a lot of food to fill me up. So if I'm saying the portions are small, they are small. As for taste, the food was decent, just not worth the price. The white fish my brother had (I can't remember what kind of fish it was) was tasty, but it was lacking in some flavor. The sauce that the fish was sprinkled with was good, but the chef literally placed a tablespoon of sauce on the fish. The char siu duck tasted like any other duck served at a typical Asian restaurant. In fact, if you're looking for good, flavorful, Asian duck, go to Peninsula in Minneapolis, MN. The duck there is way better, and you get much more for your money. The dungeness crab parfait was good as a spread on some french bread, but come on, 14 bucks for a tiny cup of crab spread? I can get an entire plate of hearty, rich, seafood pasta at Biaggi's for nearly the same price. I had the capon with lobster mousseline, English shell peas and potato purée, which really is just code for "a bite sized piece of dry, under seasoned chicken like meat on overly large, white plate served with drops of mashed potatoes". The potato puree was more like a garnish than an actual side dish. I'm not sure why this restaurant hasn't closed yet, but it should. It is a scam! Sadly, I can get better food at Costco on Saturday mornings. Unless you have a lot of cash to spend for absolutely no reason, I would most definitely advise against eating at this restaurant.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minnesota
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Wonderful meal and service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2013

Small plates presentation. Great way to sample different combinations and be adventuresome. All desserts were especially outstanding.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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