We celebrated the end of a two week break from work over the holidays by trying a new restaurant, Upton 43.
The restaurant is in the Linden Hills neighborhood and has been highly anticipated as another restaurant by the folks behind Victory 44. While they share the same minds behind the restaurants, I would say they took the opportunity to create something totally different from each other. This is probably a great idea so as not to take away business from each other. Victory 44 is a great place to stop for a beer and a burger. Upton 43 is more fine dining with a glass of wine. Upton 43 has its roots in Swedish cuisine, but with a French cooking flair.
We arrived and were quickly seated in a “floating” booth in the center of the restaurant. This made it easy for the staff to refill our water glasses from either side. The ambiance of the restaurant is a little stark and cold, but in a good way. The light fixtures pinpoint LED lighting directly in the center of the tables. Plenty of light to see the menu and what you are eating, but preserves the ambiance of the restaurant by creating a sense of darker space around you. The overall color scheme was a grayish blue with wood tables and booths.
The restaurant was pretty quiet the evening we were there with just a few tables besides us. This made for plenty of attention by the staff.
I had a good glass of red wine. It paired nicely with the meal. Unfortunately they don’t have their wine list on their website, so I can’t tell you what wine I had.
We each ordered a starter and an entree. The hubby began with a starter of fried goat gouda balls on a bed of kale and lingonberry. The cheese just melted in your mouth. I went with the dried apple & acorn squash soup, onion, burnt cream, and linseed. It was absolutely fabulous. The bread basket was a nice addition to the starters.
For the main entree, I went with the Swedish meatballs, potato puree, and charred cucumber. Great comfort food pick. I’m not a pickle person, but the charred cucumber was essentially a sweet pickle that I really enjoyed. Still don’t think I’ll be adding pickles to my sandwiches and meals in the future, but I’d eat the charred cucumber again in a heartbeat. The hubby went with the warm grains, sunchoke, apple, truffle, and onion petal entree. He enjoyed it, but I don’t think it was the best option on the menu.
We ended the dinner by splitting dessert. The soder tea cremeaux, pear, burnt honey, and white chocolate was great. Hard to describe it, but definitely worth getting it – below is a picture of the funky, but awesome dish! Also note that all of the dishes were made specifically for Upton 43.
All in all it was a good meal and good experience. I think the type of restaurant it is seems a little odd for the location. The location would be better served by a restaurant with a little lower price point and a few more options on the menu so as to attract repeat neighborhood visits. It seems more like someplace that should be downtown Mpls or in the Uptown area. However, I’m sure it will do fine where it is located. Great restaurant for a special occasion, but probably not somewhere I’d go on a weekly basis.
The prices on the menu are a bit on the higher side, but this is a no tip restaurant. They pay their staff higher wages so the tips are not necessary. They build this into the cost of the dinner. Keep that in mind when you see the prices. Even with that said, we shared a dessert because we couldn’t comprehend each getting dessert and paying $14 a piece for them.
Definitely a place to check out if you are interested in trying a new restaurant and like the Scandinavian cooking scene that seems to be rather hot in Mpls at this time.