Recently read about a new restaurant in the old First Course space on 56th and Chicago in South Minneapolis called Xavi. It’s been open 1 week today. Nothing like a mid-week new restaurant visit to mix it up a bit.
The hubby arrived before I did and was seated in a half booth/ half table location that faced the kitchen. I thought it was nice space – though at times it felt awkward to be facing the area where all of the workers were gathered. They definitely had extra staff on hand to train and continue to get used to the cadence of diners on the different evenings of the week.
When I arrived, there was an almost empty dish of pickles and pickled red peppers that the hubby had been noshing on while he waited. Just fine by me as I’m not a pickle person. Currently there is no alcohol served as they await the final licensing, etc. They will start serving beer and wine on July 1st. If that is a must for you, suggest you wait until then. As for us, I had a diet coke and the hubby was sipping on lemonade.
The overall look and feel of the restaurant was good. I liked the lighting and the color for the most part. The one thing that was a little odd was the location of the bathrooms. They are right in the middle of the restaurant between the kitchen and the bar. I did visit one of the restrooms and I just hope the lock never breaks or someone doesn’t forget to push the lock button. The potential for major embarrassment is high – those at the bar facing the kitchen might get an eye full.
Anyway, onto the food…
We both started with the Mushroom Broth as a first course. The broth came with mushrooms and a few pork dumplings. It was very good and had a variety of flavors. It was savory, but every so often it had a hint of sweet. It seemed a bit like a French Onion soup base but a bit sweet. It was a good soup choice for the first day of summer – not heavy.
The hubby then went with the red wine braised short rib with shishito peppers, and lemon polenta. I wonder if they were able to actually braise it in red wine given their liquor restriction until July. The meat was very good and a nice combintation with the polenta. It was served with a lot of peppers.
I went with the monkfish with saffron couscous, pea shoots, slow roasted tomato and preserved lemon. The fish had a nice crispy top, I would have preferred to have a bit more of that flavor throughout. I’m not sure I had ever had monkfish before. It was a lot meatier than I was expecting. I did have to use the knife they brought with it. The couscous and tomatoes were awesome. I had to put the block on the hubby with the couscous or he would have eaten it all. I thought the dish worked well, but I might have put the couscous with the shortribs and the polenta with the fish. Just seemed like it was a better combination.
Given we were “all in” on the restaurant, we gave the desserts a try. He went with the chocolate hazelnut trifle and I went with yuzu poundcake with shiso and blueberries. My dessert was like a strawberry shortcake. Very refreshing on a summer evening. The hubby thought his was ok, but not great. Definitely had a lot of chocolate for chocolate lovers.
The staff was very attentive and the manager/owner visited our table several times. I hope this restaurant does well. Not sure we will rush back as there are so many restaurants in the cities to try, but I would give it a try if you like the menu.