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BEST FRIES Minneapolis 2007 - Café Barbette

Café Barbette

Café Barbette

1600 W. Lake St.

Minneapolis, MN 55408


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Not only are the fries at Café Barbette tasty, they're pretty, too. Served in a white ceramic bowl, they're cut in long, slender rectangles with golden edges and glistening sides. They curve slightly inward, piled high on top of one another like a fried potato orgy. Four bucks will get you a small serving, $6 a large. Some people enjoy the purity of a plain French fry—just salt, nothing crazy—but the pomme frites, as they're called at the French-themed cafe, also come with small silver cups of catsup and homemade saffron aioli. Toward the bottom of the bowl, the fries turn into crispy baby spudlings and it's necessary to eat five or six at a time just to get your fix. For this, however, you might need to use a fork—the price we all must pay for gluttony.
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Barbette's used to be good; i would say they peaked in 2004. Since then, they have been going steadily downhill. If not for the apartment-filled neighborhood, they would have been closed a long time ago. We ordered brunch on Sunday, November 2nd. The two quiches of the day were what the two of us ordered. Mine was supposed to be tomato, leek, gruyere. I don't think a food scientist would have been able to find a tomato, a sun-dried tomato, or any sign of leek. The gruyere was visible along a one-inch swath on the top. It was so dried and over-melted, it had calcified. It would not break up with a fork and knife, or with teeth. There were at least five people who served us at different times for 1-2 seconds; each one must have been told we were responsible for the financial crisis. There is aloof and arrogant, and there is oh-my-god-they-are-going-to-poison-us hostile. Comically, ridiculously rude. The restrooms were repulsive. The one in the far back could not have smelled worse. I would hate to see their kitchen. We are not a bit surprised at this point that they once gave three dozen people salmonella poisoning. We will never return.


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