I was unsure of what to expect from the Palomino in downtown Minneapolis. I’d heard it was pretty upscale, but that’s never scared me before. I checked out the menu online and it seemed like it had some unique offerings and wasn’t THAT expensive. Despite it being the topic of a controversial yet hilarious Wesley Willis song, Gerd and I decided to check it out.
We headed to the bar when we got there – something we’ve been doing more of lately (I mean eating in bars, not going to them all the time). Kind of like dinner and a show – plus easy access to the drinks… cha-ching! The bar was mable topped and multi level – that’s class. Places for my Asian brother Yao Ming and places for Peter Dinklage – everyone wins. The guy working the bar looked like a leprechaun (having never seen one, I can only assume), which worked out well since gerd has been typo-ing the word “me” instead of “my” in her e-mails recently – and she has red hair – coincidence?... I think not. Heath, the aforementioned leprechaun, was brilliant! Great suggestions and descriptions, the appropriate level of mocking when I asked for a girly drink menu, and catered to us like we were the only ones there. Heath has a pointy beard, that’s the only reason I mention the leprechaun thing. Aside from that, he’s awesome.
Gerd and I had a hankering for an appetizer, so we decided on the gorgonzola cream covered criss-cut fries (invented by Kris Kross). Heath said they were stacked high and then the sauce was poured all over them – gesticulating wildy while giving the description. Like I said, he was awesome. Give this man a raise (or at least another pot o’ gold)!
Gerd got some sort of fancy margarita (served in a martini glass with salt-rim). It was quite tasty. I got something called “White”. My good friend Al would ask, “Why’s it gotta be white?!” I asked the same thing, my friend, I assure you. It was white wine with grand marnier, cranberry juice, maybe some grape juice and garnished with a lychee (the tastiest of the eyeball-shaped fruits – as you all know). I’m going to making 55-gallon drums of this stuff at home in the future, just so you know. It was like amazingly sweet wine/sangria. I could have had 26 of these things, but I kept it toned down – this time…
Gerd went with the Grilled Steak Salad (healthy and meaty) and I went with the Duck Confit Cassoulet (sounds fancy doesn’t it?). The steak salad was awesome. All kinds of greens and hazel nuts and blue cheese, and onion strings. It was really really good. The steak was actual steak and top quality steak at that. Every bite was as good as the next. The duck cassoulet, to my surprise, came in a freaking tagine!!!! Awesome. Picture this: a huge haunch of duck (do ducks have haunches?), a fat smoked lamb sausage, Italian sausage, white beans, taters, and tomato sauce cooked in a tagine. There is no place for you to go wrong. Simply amazing. The duck was perfectly cooked, the taters were fork-ready and silky smooth, the sausages were stellar, and there was a perfect amount of beans. Despite the duck being a high-labor food, this one was worth pulling meat off bones. Totally worth it. It’s going to be difficult NOT to get this the next time we’re at the Palomino. Tagine 2, Chao 0.
Top 5 things about the Palomino
1. Multiple tagine dishes, some not even identified as such
2. Really tasty girly drinks
3. Very attentive staff – mainly Heath in our case
4. Steak was the perfect complementary flavor for the greens and cheese in the salad
5. Duck was perfect as were its friends in the tagine
Bottom 5 things
There seriously aren’t any. We TRIED to come up with some. Parking is good and validate-able, prices were fair for the quality of food, bathrooms were nice, staff was awesome, tolerable number of rich d-bags in the bar area, fast, and classy. We have nothing bad to say about this place. Sorry. We tried.