Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Grey House - Farm to Table Uptown Minneapolis

The fixed price menu is a great way to sample a chef's skills.  Today, I walked by The Gray House, in Uptown Minneapolis, where Chef Ian Gray, personally greeted me and talked about his technique, good food and sourcing his seasonal menus from as many local farms and food cooperatives as possible throughout the year.  Though, during our harsh winters, he does source with farms out in California.  It was before dinner rush and he looked fresh for battle.  It had been a long cold winter and everyone is ready for spring.  So are the local businesses.

Chef Gray
Drinks are priced well, with an excellent selection of IPA beers that are handcrafted in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  The wine list was a good mix of domestic and international blended, white, red and sparkling wines.  I am sure I could have asked for a pairing recommendation, but I felt in the mood for a nice Italian sparkling white wine.

 Though the space is small, it feels wide open and the interior is kind of designed like an exterior of a Gray house.  It's simple, clean, almost zen-like, but not in an antiseptic kind of way.  You feel like you could come here with a group of friends and just hang out or have a business lunch/dinner here.  It's intimate enough for a date-night and casual enough to wear jeans.  That's hard to pull off.

Tonight I decided to try the three-course for $20, for a couple of reasons, it's economical and I wanted to see what $20 will get you in terms of a high quality chef and I wanted to see what kind of ingredients he would use.  That's tough in this industry when you are trying to keep your doors open and at the same time, attract new clients.
 The first course is the same.  You have your mixed greens in a vinaigrette.  As more people are getting educated about their food and the technique that goes into making a salad, I can tell you this is not a sloppy salad.  The knife cuts that demonstrate technique are as precise as a surgeon with a scalpel.  Paper thin textures of assorted root vegetables that showcases skill, fine julienned red onions danced with the brussel sprout leaves and greens.  This salad was not drenched, but perfectly coated with vinaigrette.
This was the perfect opener.

My palate was clean and ready for the next course.

 The next course was a savory sausage over a bed of cheesy polenta.  The flavors just complemented each other incredibly well, great mouth feel and the portion size was good for a hearty lunch or a light, but substantial enough, dinner.
The final act in this play is a hand crafted gelato. Pictured is the salted caramel, which was sinful enough to want more, but it does satiate the sweet tooth.

For $20, yes, you can have a gourmet experience and have quality service.

Of course, The Gray House does have a full menu, with an incredible assortment that is always changing as the seasons change.

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