Fine dining at Erte Restaurant in NE Minneapolis.

by Fashionista Troy

Acouple of Saturdays ago I had the pleasure of visiting Erte Restaurant to have dinner with a few friends before going to a show. I had heard good things about the food and the location was near the Capris Theater (which I was going to be attending later that evening). For the record, Erte is technically not a steak house or a seafood restaurant, they consider themselves to be both. They also feature live music on the weekends, but we were there too early for that.

I had reservations for 5 PM, and arrived to a nearly empty restaurant – not surprising for the time of day as they do not open until 4 PM. There was no parking next to the building, but a sign directed me to free parking across the street. While it was easy to drive across the street, the parking spaces were not well-marked and I was not certain I was in the right area. This should definitely be made clearer to guests.

I parked with a bit of apprehension and walked across the street, not sure which door was the main entrance. There looked to be a couple of side doors and a main door in the front of the building. I walked past the side doors around to the front only to discover that the front entrance was no longer in use and I was instructed to use the side door. Not a promising beginning, with both the parking and the doors.

After retracing our steps, we entered by the side door and walked past a beautiful cocktail bar, the Peacock Lounge they call it. It had a retro feel, marble walls, shelves of booze, and a long bar wrapped in stamped tin. The bar also boasted a detailed, embossed tin ceiling that added to the aura of the room.

The friendly hostess greeted us and took us to our table, a four-top near the front windows. The restaurant itself looks like it used to be a dance studio, older hardwood floors and lots of full-length mirrors on several walls. There were also several large works of art adorning the walls. It was rather dark inside since windows only adorned one side of the dining room and the black tableclothes added to the darkness. Then there were the white linen napkins, so full of lint that everyone in our party was covered in little white flecks of it. Black napkins would have been a nice touch… (where is that travel-sized lint roller when you really need it?)

We were served iced water and sliced bread and whipped herb butter with olives and pepperoncini. While Erte boasts a decent wine list, I opted for a Cosmopolitan (Absolute Citron vodka, Cointreau and a splash of cranberry juice) and a black coffee. The Cosmo was prepared the way it should be and the coffee was dark and flavorful. I always appreciate when the server actually listens to the way I order coffee and doesn’t bring cream when I ask for black. She listened and it was nice.

The Order
The menu is divided into four main sections and is by no means overwhelming but does provide enough variation to accomodate multiple tastes and moods – Starters, Salads, Entrees and Sides. Entrees are generally a la carte which made it somewhat easier to try a few different items. Starters included options like a the Brisket Miniwich, Squash Bruschetta and Asian Chicken Satay. Salads listed the Bob Cobb and Golden Chicken Salad among others. The entree section contained steaks like the 10 oz. Sirloin, the Angus Beef Filet Mignon and the thick-cut New York Strip as well as seafood items like Shrimp Andouille Jambalaya and Bowstring Walleye.

We ordered a Beet Salad, Crab Cakes and the Erte Platter to begin, followed by the Porketta and the Lamb Chops, (the entrees were accompanied by a house salad).

The Dinner
The Beet Salad arrived first and is described as roasted beets tossed with balsamic vinaigrette and bleu cheese crumbles on spring mix. It had a very fresh taste with neither the beets nor the balsamic overpowering the other. The beets were not overdone (as can often happen when roasting a vegetable) and had just the right consistency for the greens.

Within minutes, the Crab Cakes were delivered – two plump Pacific white flake patties, griddled and served with homemade tartar sauce. They were very tasty and wrapped in a light crunchy batter, however, the tartar sauce was almost completely covering them and did nothing for the presentation. A side of tartar would have been more to my liking. This is really a great item to split amongst several people because two of these is really more than you would want – they are definitely on the rich side.

Next we sampled the Erte Platter, warmed brie with apricot cherry chutney and artisan crackers. The warm brie and apricot combination made quite a favorable impression on my palette. I would have preferred toasted bread to crackers, but again, that is subjective.

The dinner salads were a nice assortment of mixed greens with carrots and the house dressing. Fine as far as side salads, but nothing memorable. I could have done without this course completely and not missed a thing. A few more choices in regard to the salad would have been nice.

Then came the entrees. My Lamb Chops were grilled New Zealand chops with a Lingonberry demi glaze and mashed potatoes. The chops were perfectly prepared, tender and flavorful, and the rich smoothness of the glaze set this dish apart from the others. There were three ribs on the plate, but I could have easily enjoyed three more. It was laid over a bed of their mashed potatoes (I substituted the regular potato for the sweet potato) which were nicely whipped, smooth and creamy. I would definitely order this dish again, and so would my guests.

The Porketta, spicy sausage stuffed pork tenderloin with a roasted garlic butter sauce and sweet potato mashers, was nicely presented except the juices from the pork puddled over the entire plate and made the sweet potatoes look runny. The pork was prepared perfectly, and the sausage dressing, while spicy, was subtley flavored and served to enhance the flavor of the pork.

After Dinner
For dessert, we decided to split a slice of chocolate cake. This was a large and rich piece with a white frosting and a chocolate ganache, topped with a sprig of mint.

I asked for espresso to accompany my dessert (as I generally do after a fine meal), but was told that Erte does not serve espresso or cappucino – definitely something I found odd. I thought every fine dining establishment had espresso…

The Finish
The check was promptly delivered upon request and payment taken quickly. The overall service was spot-on and earned our server 20% on a $100 bill. Erte is open Monday through Saturday and has a private dining room that seats up to 22 available at no additional charge.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 3.5 out of 5 stars. Dining at Erte was a pleasant experience and I will definitely go back. Erte would have scored a five on my scale if the parking lot and front door had been more clearly marked, if the decor had been a bit snazzier, the napkins had been lint free, the Crab Cakes had not been drowned in Tartar sauce, the Porketta dish was not swimming in juice and if they served espresso.

323 13th Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

(612) 623-4211

Erte on Urbanspoon
Fashionista Troy Twin Cities restaurants

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