Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dinner at Victory 44

I've had Victory 44 on my list since it first opened. But, it wasn't until I read We Got Served's review of it that I moved it to the tippy-top of my list. Not long after, I was looking for a new place to try for dinner with friends, and the choice was a no-brainer.

Nestled within an unassuming spot in north Minneapolis (I swear the only other thing I remember seeing on the same corner was a Domino's), the vibe at Victory 44 is awesome. The space was jam-packed with a nice, low-key atmosphere on our visit. And even with a bunch of people all around us, the tables were spaced well enough that you didn't feel like you were part of everyone else's conversations.

Even the light fixtures were cool...

And, cooler yet - Victory 44's menu is ever-changing. The chalkboard serves as your guide. During our visit, we opted for the tasting menu - five courses for $30. Two notes: 1. if you pair it with wine for $50, you get a fairly generous half pour with each course, and 2. it's requested that the entire table participate if you get the tasting menu (that's right...even the finicky eaters...ha).

The first course was the beet in textures. I'm not a major fan of beets, so the beet-driven menu almost made me reconsider the tasting menu option (remember though: all for one and one for all). In the end, even I had to admit that this dish packed a lot of flavor. Beets of varying degrees with a tasty sauce and crumble.

Then came the scallops. I cannot even begin to describe how fantastic these were. SO rich. SO melt-in-your-mouth awesome.

And then, the main event: hanger steak with a bleu cheese butter and...wait for it...more beets. :) Actually, this was so incredibly well prepared and well-paired together that it was my favorite part of the whole meal. I'm still day-dreaming about this amazing steak.

Next up was a composed cheese plate with soft cheeses, a tangy jam and more crumble. This was a great follow-up to the steak and transition from dinner to dessert.

And lastly, the dessert course: coffee, peanut butter banana. If I could think of a critique for our meal, this would be it. Overall, it was pretty good. I don't like coffee, but it was barely noticeable. It did however seem to add to the crunchiness, which I wasn't crazy about. And the filo dough was a mixed bag for me. The ice cream and puree were delish.

It certainly wouldn't be a stretch to say that Victory 44 is the best restaurant I've eaten at so far in 2012. The whole meal was fantastic. The ambiance perfect. And while maybe a bit off the beaten path, well worth the trip.