Twin Cities-based blogger The Gastronomer gets the first review of the newly-opened Travail and the Rookery. He goes through course-by-course, with a photo and description of each of the ten courses on the tasting menu (Travail is tasting menu only). Other than a "rare miss" on the fifth course—sweetbreads—overall:
"...the food was well prepared, executed, and thoughtful. Each dish is comprised of many components, but in most cases those components existed to bring about balance and a more harmonious tasting experience. The consistency from course to course should also be applauded."
On opening night, City Pages' Joy Summers also headed over for a drink and a bite at The Rookery, the cocktails and micro-plates spot that shares space with the new Travail. She samples the Mint Condition cocktail, plus a few small plates: scrambled egg with truffle, paté, and oxtail in dashi broth. On the oxtail: "It was the beefiest crust of beef with beef essence we've likely ever tasted."
Finally, in a different part of town, Heavy Table's Tricia Cornell puts in her review of Seward's newish Chef Shack Ranch, from the owners of the Chef Shack truck. After some discussion of the butcher paper, pressed tin, and mason jars ("It's an undeniably of-this-moment kind of place. Hip, if you will. Hipster, if you must."), Cornell lauds the Big Boy Ranch Plate, the Ranch Burger, and the Trucker Fries, all "generous, hearty, and varied." As for the weak spots:
"The misses and near-misses on the menu are the ones that stray away from this big, bold modern cowboy sensibility: a sad overcooked pot pie with a bland interior; some decidedly utilitarian sweet potato tacos that surely do well on the street but barely felt like a meal when we were sitting down inside with a glass of wine; meaty, filling wings with almost zero flavor. But even over the course of our recent visits, things kept improving and changing."
And, don't forget: "yes, there are doughnuts."
· All Week in Reviews [Eater MPLS]