This week in Week in Reviews, both Mpls.St.Paul Magazine's Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl and the Star Tribune's Rick Nelson visit Uptown's Coup d'Etat, the two-floor megalith from the team behind the North Loop's Borough. (City Pages' Emily Weiss and Heavy Table's Jill Lewis put in their two cents on the restaurant about a month ago.)
First up, Moskowitz Grumdahl, who—after an extended three-paragraph metaphor about Uptown as a giant game of Super Mario—gives the restaurant a decidedly mixed review. The cocktails from bartender Jesse Held are "fantastic, as always," and some of the food from chefs Tyler Shipton and Nick O'Leary is "beautiful and simple" (the bowl of clams and mussels, the roasted marrowbone, the gnocchi, and the creamy polenta, which Grumdahl calls "the best thing on the menu").
However, things don't stay so rosy: "I went to Coup d'État four times searching for the magic combination of dishes that I could wholeheartedly recommend, but I kept coming back with an irritating combination of hits and misses."
What were the misses? Here's Grumdahl again:
"...I encountered as many odd missteps as hits at Coup d'État: The spicy honey glaze on the otherwise flawless tempura frog legs was so sweet, goopy, and salty it reminded me of nothing but the worst cafeteria Chinese food. Roast chicken was dry and overcooked, slicked with a sticky brown sauce that tasted burnt, served on a wildly oversalted bed of eggplant confit. Pork osso buco was underseasoned, subtle notes of orange and fennel lost in what tasted like a very dull slow cooker dish. The chocolate cake and the carrot cake for dessert taste like generic placeholders, though the hot brioche donut holes are an absolute delight."
Over at the Star Tribune, Nelson gives the restaurant a more positive review. He writes:
"...By taking a more thoughtful approach to what is essentially bar food, much of what Coup d'état accomplishes is often delightful, and occasionally remarkable. Actually, to label it bar food is something of a misnomer, because O'Leary and Shipton manage to transcend the implication of dreary predictability that's wrapped in that appellation."
Nelson's favorite dish is the octopus with grilled bread, harissa, and yogurt, which he calls "an approachable riff on a Borough top performer." And he has nothing but praise for many of the other starters and the "lovingly rendered pastas", though he, too, thinks that some of the entrees "might fall into coup de blah territory," including the "dry, lifeless slab of skate" (which Grumdahl calls "textbook-perfect light and elegant"), "tough shoulder-cut steak," and the "gristly quail."
· All Week in Reviews [Eater MPLS]
· All Coverage of Coup d'Etat [Eater MPLS]