For those that don’t know, there’s a new indoor marketplace on St. Paul’s West 7th area – called Keg & Case. Think of it like an upscale Midtown Global Market. There are some fancier and niche-ier shops and food vendors there, as well as a really good brewery upstairs, and a higher-end “anchor” restaurant called In Bloom. D.Rough and I got reservations there for lunch, since it would save us a few pennies, even if it had a slightly more limited menu. We’re glad we got reservations since they do get pretty busy on weekends.
Our server, Dan, was great. I’m sure we had had him as a server at some other previous restaurant, but neither of us could pinpoint it, however. He made sure we were well taken care of. We started with some fun cocktails, since that’s one of the things we’ve heard people mention about this new place. D.Rough got a House Gimlet and I got a Prince of Wales. D.Rough’s was very good and tasted like other Gimlets I’ve had.
Mine had brandy, Madeira, orange curacao, and cava in it. So it tasted like BOOZE. Loved it. Also, I was surprised the beer menu didn’t contain any beers made by the brewery upstairs, but maybe they’re working that out. In the future.
Everything on the menu sounded delicious, but we finally decided on the cockles (basically clams or mussels, if you don’t get all scientific and genus-y on my non-biology brain) and the roasted mushrooms. I know it sounds weird, but that’s what we ordered. The wait wasn’t long at all and the place was full, so we were pretty happy with that. The cockles arrived in a bright yellow corn cream sauce with some guanciale (which we love), and cornbread crumbs on top. The cockles themselves were delicious, but the corn cream sauce was outstanding. Brilliant. We were about three seconds from licking the bowl clean when the server showed up. He said we’d be surprised how many people don’t drink/eat/sop this incredible liquid up. Fools.
The roasted mushrooms were also fantastic. There were multiple kinds of mushrooms roasted (I’m positive the mushroom come from the fancy mushroom shop also residing in the Keg & Case market) and then also decorated with medium-sized potato dumplings. They were all sitting in a rich and earthy mushroom cream sauce, as well. I know it’s weird, but we were quite thrilled with this dish. Don’t be scared of it, friends.
We had finally narrowed (with Dan’s help) what we were going to eat for our main meal – Cavatelli pasta with Venison Ragu, and an order of American Wagyu Beef. D.Rough talked me out of ordering duck hearts or venison tartar, but there’s always next time.
The cavatelli was a perfect al dente and wasn’t dough-y at all. The venison ragu was good, although the venison could have been a tad less cooked for my taste – but I know how I like my venison cooked and I understand there are rules with restaurants and serving not-fully-cooked meats. It does, however, make me want to try this at home sometime… The whole dish had a light coating of SarVecchio Parmesan cheese on it which gave it a nice salty pop, as well. This dish was pretty great and I’m glad we tried it.
The America Wagyu was good – great, in fact. It was extremely tender with very little fat/gristle. Great flavor and served with a sear on the outside and some pink on the inside. Perfectly cooked. It had some roasted chestnuts, Cipollini onions, and a few pieces of bacon in a nice sauce, as well. Really a good dish. The only reason I didn’t rave about this is because I’ve had Japanese Wagyu and the American version simply doesn’t stack up, especially for the price you pay for either of them. Again, a great piece of meat here at In Bloom, but I’ve had the real thing and now I’m super snobby and can’t take a step backwards. Hahaha. My apologies for my snooty attitude. I’ll try harder.
We knew we needed dessert, and even though the thing that D.Rough was not available this particular day. We went with something called a Chocolate Cremeux. It’s a little difficult to tell what is when they bring it out, but it’s because there’s an inch-thick layer of whipped cream on the top. That covers what appears to be some sort of delicious sugary macadamia nut brittle or praline (we think). And then THAT is covering a nice thick layer of chocolaty fudge at the bottom. The whole thing is fantastic, and I’m glad they were not serving the thing that D.Rough wanted. Hahahaha. KIDDING!
While this might not be an “every night” sort of place for us (it’s pricey), we really did think it has something special. The ambience is great. The service is great. The food is great. The open kitchen that you can watch is great. The cocktails are great. Pretty much everything is great. Definitely worth the trip!