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BEST STAR CHEF EXPERIENCE Minneapolis 2003 - Steven Brown at Rockstar

Poor, poor Steven Brown. Locked away in the terribly located, terribly unattractive RockStar, making adorable, world-caliber food for hardly anyone at all. You should have seen the plates that that kitchen sent out a few weeks ago, plates filled with gorgeous little gnocchi, formed carefully into crescent moons, seared until crisp and brown, resting like exquisite bits of art in a buttery sauce of wee asparagus tips, sautéed leeks, and flecks of parmesan. It was darling! It was precious! Or pressure-cooked beef short ribs, the meat concentrated like the single note of an oboe, resounding through the room until nothing else existed but the spicy jalapeño-flecked meat with its sweet balsamic honey glaze and scattering of chopped tomatoes. Or a sashimi-like presentation of scallops, alongside a tangle of fresh pea greens, a scoop of icy pea gelato, and a sorrel-sour salsa with onions. It was like an interpretive sculpture of spring, done in the most fleeting way. In fact, everything on every plate that comes out of RockStar cries talent, wonderment, oh my! And yet there are hardly any customers in the place. (Yes, we heard it was redecorated too, but aside from changed art, updates were hard to detect.) What to conclude? That there is one fantastically amazing restaurant in town where you never need a reservation, where those clever enough to see past the book's cover to the book will always be delighted, and where Steven Brown will knock your socks off, if only you give him the chance.

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