Libertine brings roasted meats and great service to Uptown

Categories: First Look

AhiTunaLibertine.jpg
Ahi tuna with saffron and grilled lemon
From announcement to opening, it only took a matter of weeks for noted chef and restaurateur Tim McKee to take over Uptown Cafeteria and introduce a new, more sophisticated concept. During construction they kept the rooftop patio -- one of the chicest in this neighborhood -- open for business and haven't changed things too much up there since the changeover. What's most markedly different here is the food, a sprawling array of mix-and-match meat dishes, many featuring uncommon cuts like lamb saddle, feather steak, bacon chop, and crispy pig's ears; cold and warm vegetable sides designed to share; and oysters done fried, charbroiled, raw, or as shooters with a Bloody Mary or watermelon-margarita chaser.

We stopped by to get a first look at the smart menu, spare but stylish interior, fruity-leaning cocktails, and family-style service.

See also:
Chef Tim McKee dishes on upcoming restaurant Libertine

Dishes at Libertine are delivered to the table as they're ready, so pacing and courses aren't really a thing here. Instead it's recommended that you get a number of plates and plan to share lots of bites.

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The B is for Beef in this BLT
We heard so much about the beef bacon here, we had to make the Libertine BLT our first order of business. The L and T (and bread and mayo) parts of the sandwich were ultra-traditional, but the unexpected chewiness and woodiness of the beef bacon helped to keep things interesting. It's messy to eat, and perhaps not as good as the lamb bacon BLT at Saffron, but still worth trying.

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Crispy Asian tofu with grilled avocado
With all the meat on the menu, it was surprising to see how well executed and straight-up delicious the crispy tofu dish was. Not only was the gingery-mirin sauce understated and complementary, but the tofu itself was nicely seasoned. The grilled ahi tuna (pictured at the top of the post) wasn't quite as raw as our server suggested, but was tasty all the same and cooked more to the doneness of a similarly sized piece of pork.

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Sweet and hot southern fried chicken
The honey-jalapeno fried chicken was succulent and light, crispy but without any greasiness, and really nicely cooked on the inside too. High marks for fancy fried chicken, which Minneapolis seems to be having a mini love affair with at the moment. No complaints about that here. A number of dishes are served with a single onion ring as a garnish, which is a nice touch.

Cocktails seemed to lean heavily to the jammy, fruity, sometimes a little too sweet side. But one unique concoction ended up being a total crowd pleaser: the New York sour. It's a simple blend of rye, lemon, and red wine over ice that is equal parts tart and sharp, but fully summery. We may be inspired to try this one at home.

Libertine
3001 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis
612-877-7263; libertinempls.com

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12 comments
Mark Brown
Mark Brown

However the quality of the food, your photos make it look really awful. A recommendation - either hire a photographer or don't post such tremendously bad images.

Shayne O'Neil
Shayne O'Neil

This place is excellent. Bacon pork chop is to die for.

Sarah Ramler
Sarah Ramler

It doesn't have $3 ramen does it? DOES IT?

Angelo Zwicky
Angelo Zwicky

City Pages Minneapolis you do realize that if every restaurant review is a rave, none are...

charlieheinz57
charlieheinz57

You said it, Mark! It looks like some loathsome human waste.

charlieheinz57
charlieheinz57

RIGHT! It could be some bugger butt hole in the wall.

Alirox
Alirox

City Pages has long been a glorified shopping mag.

charlieheinz57
charlieheinz57

@Alirox City Pages always did mainly suck. Once in a great while though they have a great article. But it is rare.


I never see City Pages any more anyway! The kiosk at Uptown by McDs where I used get it is full of used rubbers, whiskey bottles and other shit. 


DID CITY PAGES STOP PUBLISHING A HARD COPY MAGAZINE???

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