With better weather arriving, we planned for our first ‘Dining-Destination’ road trip of 2014. We've been watching the FaceBook postings of 'The Cup' since we found it last fall. I'd read the reviews of diner's fortunate enough to attend past Chef's Dinners there and managed to secure two of the few reservations offered at the ‘Cup & Saucer’ in Sherburn Minnesota for their monthly prized ‘Chef’s tasting dinner.’
This is a very special 'once-per-month' event that the owners of the Cup have launched at their dining-destination restaurant in south central Minnesota.
This event often books up months in advance so there’s time for you to put your trip together. (A good selection of hotels up the highway in Fairmont MN can be found on TripAdvisor.)
Since we first discovered ‘Cup & Saucer’ late last summer, this visit found that it has grown in capabilities and reputation, The daily menu (breakfast and lunch) too, has grown to include artful omelets, delicious soups and house-made Exceptional Pies and Cakes. Sandwiches are a trademark, and salads sport house-made dressings including lemon-citrus vinaigrette and an airy Roquefort dressing.
Recently they added a thoughtful selection of wines and (soon) craft beer! I'd intended to photograph each course but became so engaged with each course that I consumed the first two courses of the dinner without stopping to take a picture.
The dinner menu is announced at the meal. Then, let the adventure begin!
All guests arrived close to the starting time for the meal (6pm in this case) and the restaurant filled to capacity with expectant diners. Each party was greeted by the Co-Owner Elizabeth and each table was finely dressed with a slate name plate sporting each parties last name. An elegant personal touch!
Menus awaited at each seating area. Six courses were planned for us this special night. I've listed the items in the order of presentation. (Wine service (extra).
First was called 'Amuse': Devils on Horseback. Misnamed because the flavors blending together of date stuffed with a succulent, creamy melted cheese, wrapped in bacon and broiled were—by far—more angelic than that name implies.
Following that treat came a lovely and light artichoke soup dressed with a piece of crispy slow roasted chicken skin, and artful drizzles of parsley and chili oils.
The salad course featured arugula and chervil dressed with radish, caramelized shallots, goat cheese and a few delightful pistachios. This was dressed with a house-made citrus vinaigrette. Consumed without leaving a trace!
The meat dish was a roasted half Quail that sported a roast garlic and molasses glaze, topping parmesan dusted heirloom beans with baby green beans adding both color and flavor to this flavorful delight.
Fresh fish came next—wild caught Halibut adorning a succulent array of delicate wild mushrooms and different heirloom beans dressed with caramelized fennel and fingerling potatoes.
Dessert was a dreamy Panna Cotta with slight grapefruit syrup. I loved the wedge of ruby grapefruit to accent the creamy sweetness. Under most circumstances, I’m not a fan of desserts, but this one didn’t last beyond three minutes in front of me.
My wife and I ended our Cup & Saucer ‘Chef’s Tasting’ with coffee, exceptional tastes still dancing on our palates, and smiles as we both said...Now THAT was a real experience!
I must say that the serving of these many courses--each with it's own silverware--and removal of all of those plates, add-in attentive wine service too, was as professionally done and choreographed as at private clubs I've belonged to!
At $75 per person plus wine, it’s not for everyone. But if you have the time to plan a little road trip for a dining adventure, you will be well advised to get yourself in line for a table for a future event.
Well worth planning for—the new dining experience in an unlikely town, off a major highway will repay you with memories of culinary skill delivered on your plates.