Bank — February 13, 2010

16 02 2010

Bank
88 S 6th Street
Minneapolis
www.bankmpls.com

Entering such a magnificent structure, such as Bank restaurant downtown – with its lofty ceiling and dark wood accents – can make anyone feel special. And celebrating Valentine’s Day as a newly married couple, it was unmistakably the place to go for a romantic evening.

The dining area at Bank

The hostess led us to our seat – a cozy booth enveloping the table to give us a private space, but shutting out the beautiful surroundings and, instead, offering us a view of the lackadaisical kitchen activity. Note to future visitors: we’d recommend asking for a table reservation and not a booth.

Before describing anything else, I must note that the food was extravagant and divinely flavorful. We chose the Valentine’s tasting menu – with appropriate wine pairings for each course.

The first course arrived: my lobster bisque was creamy without muting the crustacean’s distinct flavor and came dusted with purple microgreens for texture. Jim’s beet salad soared past expectations, lining fresh beets  near tufts of unique greens and crumbles of cheese and nuts, all drizzled with a light dressing. Our second course continued to please. I was presented half-shell oysters with a dollop of cream and caviar, and Jim was served a bowl of tender veal pieces with a savory ragout.

The entrees came next. For me, three lightly grilled scallops bearing ginger-soaked cauliflower sat atop sweet mashed potatoes. I was less excited by the mix of sweet flavors or the chef’s choice of two starches — and, everything had cooled on its way from the kitchen to my seat — but it avoided bland and was surprisingly filling. For Jim, a shank of lamb and link of sausage were placed over white beans. Though not visually attractive, he raved about the meat’s soft and tender qualities and the good flavor each piece contributed to the overall bite. Comfort food at its finest.

We both chose the same dessert course – a chocolate mousse mold topped with vanilla cotton candy (yes, a childish delight served in an elegant fashion … the match was brilliant) and drizzled with drops of berry syrup and chocolate sauce. This was truly the right way to end the beautifully constructed lovers’ feast.

However, our experience had some major service issues. Timing was poor – keeping us waiting more than 20 minutes before getting our first glass of wine, serving some courses with painfully long breaks in between while others were right on top of each other, and forgetting to serve each wine pairing at the same time as the dish (we didn’t get our entree pairing until we were ready for dessert). If a waiter must ask if a table has yet received the first course, something is amiss. And the hospitality was dismal. We practically had to beg our waiter to stay at our table long enough to answer a question (such as, “and what wine is this one?”), and we were never asked if we needed anything — let alone if we were satisfied.

Bank is a stunningly dramatic setting for an original execution of fine food. We’re interested in attempting this one again, simply for the chance to savor the ambiance and cuisine once more. But we’d better be treated as important guests, as such an ambiance makes us feel, or we’ll quickly cross this one off our list. For good.

RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Ambiance/Environment: ♠♠♠♠ 1/2
Menu Selection: ♠♠♠♠
Service:
Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠♠♠ 1/2
COMPLETE EXPERIENCE: ♠♠♠ 1/2

Total bill, including tip: It was a special occasion … we’re not telling.

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