The little restaurant empire that Kim Bartmann has built in the Twin Cities includes Pat's Tap, Bryant Lake Bowl, Bread & Pickle, Tiny Diner, The Third Bird and Red Stag Supperclub. However, that restaurant collection all began with an address in Uptown on the corner of Lake Street and Irving Avenue South where Cafe Barbette operates as one of the grand dames of Uptown dining. Now, after almost fifteen years in operation, Barbette is expanding with a new next door eatery in the former hair salon.
Trapeze will be a small (40 seats only) spot dedicated to pouring all things sparking and serving all the foods that go with them. "I mean, everything goes with champagne, right?" said Bartmann. "And why don't the French have a word for tapas?" The wine program will star bubbles, but will include more than just champagne: cava, prosecco and even a view still wines will be poured inside.
The small bites will be prepped in the Barbette kitchen, but the menu will be entirely its own creation. Toasts will lead the charge with toppings like duck, duck fat and caviar. "A little salty, a little sweet, a little fatty: all the good things in one magical bite," Bartmann shared. Other dish ideas that they are toying with include a riff on salt cod, brandade.
That isn't the only exciting bit of news out the Bartmann camp this afternoon. Overseeing the menu is returning chef Kevin Kathman, who is currently in the kitchen at Barbette. (He's visiting all of Bartmann's restaurants. Next, he'll head over to Bread & Pickle). Kitchen watchers will remember Kathman as the Cold Springs, Minnesota native who built a stellar reputation at Thomas Keller's French Laundry before returning to Minnesota to open Pat's Tap and then the short-lived Jack's before reportedly moving back to California. Kathman joins a list of chefs who are part of the Bartmann fold - often returning from other careers to work in her restaurants. (Another notable of that ilk is Brian Hauke currently making his mark on The Third Bird's menu.)
Details on Trapeze have been held close to the vest up until now. "We haven't done much to the space except clear it all out... and paint the ceiling hot pink," said Bartmann. The room won't quite be ready for prime time when it hosts its first event. Father and son importers, Alain and Oliver Bourguet will be on hand for a special champagne tasting from Le Mesnil on April 22 from 6 to 8 pm. Tickets are $32, available here, and will include four selections all from the Grand Cru designated vineyards. Bartmann enthused over the duo's style and wines which prompted the decision to open the doors on Trapeze for this very special early look and tasting.
If all goes according to plan, the restaurant will open to the public later this summer.