Last night we wound up in the Minneapolis Warehouse District at Sapor, where neither of us had been before but where both of us hope to return. We had a glorious meal, every bite. Usually we order different things so we can share and sample, but last night we both wanted the exact same things beginning to end, and both of us were delighted.
First off, there is a nice free parking lot in the evening reserved for the restaurant, and besides you can easily find parking in that neighborhood anyway. This is not a small consideration. The restaurant itself is nice, with expansive rooms and lots of nice light wood and a personable staff.
And the food. Oh, the food! We shared an appetizer of duck confit on brioche toast, and I have never had duck so tender and flavorful and delicious. We each ordered a glass of some odd sort of Bonny Doon "pink wine" (despite the wineworld prohibition against such things) because we were just in that mood and this worked out fine.
We each had a small bowl of the most flavorful pumpkin soup imaginable, a pumpkin soup that was not cream-based (although there was some butter in it) with the teeniest dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds, but it was the rich intensity of the soup itself that was so amazing. We each ordered the rack of lamb, medium rare according to the chef's recommendation, and I am here to report that it is possible to cook lamb with slightly caramelized (not at all charred) outsides with rich red flavorsome insides, where each bite is a pervasive pleasure. We both of us agreed that a key factor here was the absolute first-rate quality of the lamb itself. The accompaniments to the lamb were not what is on the menu at the web site, and I wish I'd written down what they were. I think it was some sort of polenta base, and deliciously braised root vegetables. Oh, and, surprisingly, there was a piece of pear that was somehow magically roasted and flavored in a way that made it almost potato-like. To accompany we split a nice Zinfandel, which is probably not the recommended wine for lamb like this but which worked anyway and even continued to work with dessert.
Yes, dessert. We each of us had eaten light that day and we resisted ordering a second appetizer so that we could have dessert. The server suggested the poached pear dessert, but we'd had enough pear so we split a pumpkin creme brulee and a coconut cream pie with caramelized bananas and caramel sauce. The bananas were perfectly carmelized (just as the lamb had been perfectly cooked), and the pumpkin brulee was luscious and intriguingly spiced with what we thought was allspice. And as I say, the Zinfandel was still a fine thing to drink with the dessert.
But how could we eat so much? This is another thing I liked about the restaurant. The portions were not exactly meager, but neither were they the huge overwhelming amounts you sometimes get. It was like the third bowl of porridge that Goldilocks ate: This one was just right. Besides, we were at the restaurant for nearly three hours, so the food was slow and spread out over the evening.
We talked and laughed and reminisced and complained and wallowed in old resentments on one of the first cold winter nights of the year.