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“Amazing! Can't Wait 'till they Re-Open” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Travail Kitchen and Amusements

Travail Kitchen and Amusements
Ranked #1 of 19 Restaurants in Robbinsdale
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $20
Cuisines: American, International, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Large groups, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
AV, California
Level Contributor
199 reviews
109 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 190 helpful votes
“Amazing! Can't Wait 'till they Re-Open”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 8, 2013

Went to Travail for a birthday celebration in the middle of last week with a party of 8.
When my party got there at 4:45 or so, there was a line of people outside waiting for the doors to open at 5, which appeared to be part of the no-reservations mystique. I was lucky someone else had arrived before 4 and had held our place in the chilly line.
When they opened the doors at 5pm, everyone filed into the available spaces at several communal tables. There also looked to be a few small 1-party tables but that wouldn't have been nearly as fun. Those who didn't get a spot right away waited in the bar area for an hour-plus, which was better than waiting outside.
The feel inside was industrial-chic, bare brick walls and unfinished ducting overhead. The kitchen was fully open to the dining area and the menu was comprised of several blackboards where the specials and drink offerings were scrawled. The cooks (who are also the servers) are dressed in casual street clothes and chef's aprons and the music is rock-n-roll and loud. Our group loved it and had several impromptu sing-alongs.
The 8 in my party paired-up and all four pairs chose the 10-course tasting menu which was served per-couple, every course of which was amazing in presentation, in taste, in creativity, and in balance with the other courses. My party had called ahead to ask about dietary needs. They said - "the server staff is also the cook staff so just tell them the deal and they'll adapt" which was true. Otherwise, there were greens and soup and all sorts of little creations like three different little amuse bouche each made with steak tartare. One of my favorite courses was an egg in a cup - once the cups were handed-out to our group, we stood up and filed through the kitchen area where different people spooned different spices and veg and beans and meat into each cup right out of the pots and pans where they were cooking. The last person in the kitchen topped off the whole thing with homemade corn chips. By the time we returned to the table, the egg was mottled and soft cooked by the added ingredients and the cup's contents could be eaten with the chips. The entree's included different kinds of spiced chicken and a 5-yr aged piece of prime rib. Dessert was a cup of liquid nitrogen and two squeeze bottles, one filled with a mint cream and the other with chocolate cream. By squeezing the contents into the liquid nitrogen, each pair of people made their own mint-chocolate dippin dots.
The beer and wine menu was also very impressive, obviously each offering had been picked by the cook staff for its specific characteristics.
Our 10-course tasting experience was $85 per couple, not including drinks. I've been happy spending way more than $40-some per-person in the twin cities for far less.
My understanding is that the Travail staff is branching out to have a Travail-style pizza joint in addition to the restraurant experience for which it has gotten so popular. This transition will begin when they close Travail-proper to open the pizza joint in a few weeks right in the current space and get that venture on it's feet. Meanwhile over the next six months, they are custom-building a new space for the restaurant experience right down the way, of course, still in Robbinsdale. It appears Robbinsdale is becoming one of the hippest places in the Twin Cities.
THANKS TRAVAIL! See you this fall!

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank dmpdsc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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191 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    150
    26
    5
    8
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Jupiter, FL
Level Contributor
33 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Our favorite dinner in a long time!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 22, 2013

We were visiting friends who took us to Travail to celebrate a special occasion. My boyfriend and I loved the food and the entire experience. We sat at the bar which is really fun as you can interact with the chefs. Course after course was amazing, delicious, fresh, and inventive. The mushroom soup was one of my favorites. We would definitely go back for the fun and delicious experience!

  • Visited March 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Rebecca__881
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Wowza!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 16, 2013 via mobile

This place was GREAT! I tried things I would never otherwise try...and boy am I glad I did! Of course the 2 1/2 hour wait was not ideal, but my friends and I went down the road to St. Petersburg Vodka bar for a couple cocktails while we waited and were back just in time for our names to be called (although they said that had we not gotten back in time, our names would have been added to the "MIA list" and then put back at the top of the wait list when we finally did get back), so a win-win!

My favorite items (on the tasting menu) were the grilled cheese, the beef tartar, the mushroom soup, and the dessert sampler!

Oh, and the BEST part of the whole dining experience was the music! It was like the soundtrack of my life! Each song better than the previous; taking me through my adolescent years from middle school mixers to high school dances all the way through college frat parties. I couldn't help but sing along (and when I looked down the table, I noticed several others doing the same thing!).

Thanks Travail! Can't wait to go back!

    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank JSD0413
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
291 reviews
243 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“The Best”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 11, 2013

The 8 course tasting menu was so good that words won't do it justice. That being said, everything we tasted was amazing. I'd say we had 12-13 courses if you include all the little side bites and drinks that were included. Amazing food, great service, fun atmosphere. And it was a Wednesday night, so the tasting menu is 60 for 2 people, not each, total. It is 70 most nights, but 60 on Tuesday and Wednesday. Outstanding restaurant...can't miss tasting menu.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank wuzed111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“It needs two ratings”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 10, 2013

We ordered the eight course tasing menu and I'll give the food a "5" for creativity, presentation, variety and obvious passion on the part of the chefs for their creations. However, we will not return unless the entire dining concept undergoes some changes. I'd give the overall experience a "2". We were willing to wait to try this place as we had heard good things, but (and this is just me), almost an hour and a half in freezing drizzle is not my idea of a great weekend dining experience. Once in side, the decor, as one of my dining companions commented, is sort of counter-culture. The table we were intitially given was directly under a leaking roof and there was a lot of water on the table which had been pre-set. We moved to the next table and I noticed that eventually the leak was handled and another party sat at that table. I ordered a $12 glass of wine and it arrived in a wine goblet that was not clean. Being that the place was so busy, I just rotated the glass to what seemed like a clean spot and hoped that the alchohol would kill anything else. I've worked in restaurants, experienced restaurants around the country, the Caribbean, and Europe and have a brother who has been F&B director in nationally known restaurants so I know a bit about restaurants. I know that the leaky roof and a dirty glass can happen, so my "2" rating is mostly for the loud music. The wonderful food could generate dialog between four dinner companions, but we could not have a conversation at all. Much to the chagrin of my husband, I respectfully asked if the music could be turned down and the waitress said, "I'll try, but it is Saturday night." Clearly, they have their concept formula down and could care less if any given diner doesn't like it. Perhaps they are afraid of an even greater level of success that could come about if they offered more creature comforts to their diners. Obviously, with the line of people waiting to get in, they can afford to do exactly as they please. Their passion for the food is evident, but the disconnect between the food and the overall dining experience is unfortunate.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Com4tableAdventure
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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