Piccolo: Small Space, Big on Taste

Last weekend, while we were in Minneapolis, we took the fam to Piccolo to celebrate my b.i.l.’s new job. Before dinner time rolled around, we headed to the Walker Art Center to explore their Sculpture Garden and then their Museum of Art.

Group reflection. Being part of the art piece is cool.

Enormous cherry on a spoon. To be honest, it was pretty hot out and this sculpture made me crave ice cream.

Gehry designed fish sculpture in a wishing pond. I can't tell you my wish.

Cool deconstructed face sculpture.

I could go on. The Sculpure Garden was enormous and, in my opinion, had a lot of great works to ponder. But it was hot so we took the party inside to the museum. And the museum was quite interesting. I love modern art and could have spent even more time that what we did. My favorite piece inside was one in which you had to remove your shoes to enter the room. So we did. Once inside, there were about 8 hammocks set up and Jimi Hendrix playing while a groovy light show was running. Of course we each got into our own hammock to really experience it and it was magnificent.

Me in one of the hammock "pods" in an interactive artwork piece listening to Jimi Hendrix. Note to self: must buy more Hendrix.

The crazy thing about this photo (besides me looking like I’m dead) is that I look more like my sister than myself.

Enough with the monkeying around. It was dinner time and we were excited.

Obligatory pre-dinner photo.

Me before dinner. Feed me!

Piccolo's menu of small plates.

How could we be expected to choose from this menu? So we didn’t. There were 6 of us, so we order 2 of everything (except the desserts) and split the dishes into thirds. That’s right. We tasted it all. Unfortunately, the photo of my favorite dish refuses to download. Here are the four courses (12 dishes in total) in all their glory. 

First Course.

Duck “chorizo” with bread, olives and truffle vinaigrette. The three of us each had a bite of the spiced out duck with a tiny square of brown bread that we ran through the painted dot of truffle goodness before it hit our mouths. I think this was the hit of the night. And what a way to start the first course. These were the other first courses:

Heirloom tomatoes with grey mullet bottarga, Calabrian hot peppers and olive oil jelly.

The tomatoes were a tad bland but the olive oil jelly was concentrated goodness and definitely an unexpected texture for my palate at least.

Tempura fried fresh fig with sheep's milk cheese and Spanish olive oil tortas.

This was a definite hit. Hubs does not like figs at all but found this dish to be irresistible. The fig was sweet and the cheese was light and creamy and a lovely contrast to the fried fig.

Second courses.

"Smoked" razor clams with artichoke and pumpkin giardiniera, cilantro and lemon puree.

I’m not sure why they were described as “smoked” rather than just smoked. In any case, I’m not a huge clams lover and found these to be a tad chewy for my liking. The flavor profile accompanying the clams, however, was spot on.

Mortadella agnolotti with pastachios, lardo and Dijon mustard.

Wow. This was stunning. The combination of the fresh pasta with the salty mortadella was fantastic and the sauce created a bright quality to the overall flavor of the dish. One of my favorites.

Scrambled brown eggs with pickled pigs feet, truffle butter and parmigiano

Before you go poo-pooing this dish because of the pickled pigs feet (and this includes me!), I must say that when scrambled eggs are done properly and then adorned with truffle butter, I really don’t care what else is in there. But here the pigs feet were nearly undetectable save for the wonderful salty quality they endeared to this dish.

Third course.

Butter poached Alaskan cod with celeryroot, king crab and white kimchee. This is another photo that won’t download. But you could poach my running shoe in butter and it would be good. This cod was still moist and the crab helped to bring out the good fishy quality of the dish. And kimchee? Please. I am in love with kimchee. The table loved this one.

Monterey Bay squid with Portuguese chourico sausage, shoshito peppers and coriander

If you aren’t already a squid fan, hurry up and try it. It’s delish. This dish was great. The peppers imparted a nice spicy quality while the sausage and coriander gave it a smokey flavor. Two thumbs up.

Berkshire pork belly with mortadella, chestnuts, Brussels sprouts and truffle honey

I must admit, I don’t like pork belly. I didn’t eat that part of this dish but I’m told by my table-mates that it was absolutely fabulous. I’ll take their word for it. The other components of this dish were tasty. But what doesn’t taste great with truffle honey?

Fourth course.

Callister Farms chicken with "French" onions, smoked ham hocks, timanoix cheese and walnuts

This chicken dish was quite good. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the description but the chicken was tender and the ham hocks were salty without overpowering the chicken.

Magret duck with artichoke and celery ragout, Iberican lomo and pickled cherries

Yowza! For someone who doesn’t like duck (me), this was my second favorite dish after the first course duck dish. The cherries were tart and helped to bring out the smoky flavor of the duck.

Braised veal neck with quince, house cured pancetta, cipollini onions and olives

I can’t say that I really liked this dish. I gave my small piece of neck to my b.i.l. and had some of the side components. The veal neck was too fatty for my liking.

All in all, a really fun experience. As you probably know, I am not a big meat eater. And this menu was extremely heavy on the meat, which I didn’t love. But I have to say, despite sampling all that food, none of us felt overly full. I do know that I wouldn’t go back and order everything again but would definitely go back and order a few of the plates. Because there was so much use of truffle this and truffle that and the fact that this menu is a vegetarian’s worst nightmare, I gave this restaurant a 7 1/2 out of 10. Hubs gave it an 8. I don’t really have a rating system but for some reason, I had to compare it to our recent experience at the Cook’s House (which I’d give a 9 by the way–the only ding is no liquor license yet).

Yogi says,

Happiness is nothing but total relaxation.

Given our cold, nasty weather today, I plan to totally relax on the couch with my blanket, a book and a mug of tea. Sundays are total relaxation for me. What about you?


1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

One response to “Piccolo: Small Space, Big on Taste

  1. Fancy shmancy dinner 🙂

    That photo refelction is awesome.

    I had a great day. I rested, ate good and spent time with Mike and Boomer 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s