A family-style meal can sometimes imply casual food made with love but also made simple and messy. So kudos to Brasserie Zentral for making a family dinner that not only satisfies urges to truly break bread together, but also one that comes off as white-tablecloth fine.
Russell and Desta Klien's take on "Austro-Hungarian" fare can leave one in a state of bewilderment. The cuisine is both familiar yet not, approachable yet haute, and altogether craveworthy. When confronted with quiveringly fresh pastas, house-baked pretzels with sausages, holishkes that are nothing short of a work of modern art, or a library of foie gras, it's difficult to know where to begin.
A good place is the whole roasted chicken meal, a humble title for a full-on ritual of cuisine, all for only $55 (on Sundays they toss in a bottle of wine, gratis, and drop the price to $52). It easily serves 4.
Things start with the bird, a three-day brined, locally sourced, feet-on Wild Acres Farm chicken that then gets air dried for an additional three days, tightening the skin and accelerating its mahogany-crisping quotient. A stuffing of brioche, foie gras, and herbs is piped beneath the skin and it is roasted to order in a big fancy machine called a Combi-oven, something you definitely do not have at home.
Side dishes of simple roasted seasonal vegetables and kasha varnishes (buckwheat groats and noodles) are rendered blissful with a ladle of "sauce supreme," a celestial condiment (please don't call it gravy) of roasted chicken bones, mirepoix, madeira, stock, and roux.
After the remnants of the experience have been cleared, a petit digestive salad is served in the French post-meal tradition. Chef Klein says, "I enjoy my salad after the meal, so that is why I serve it then."
Best not to argue with a guy who can turn roast chicken into a ceremony.
100: The Pickle Dog from the Minnesota State Fair 99: Mademoiselle Miel's Honey Bon-Bons 98: Giant Pretzel at New Bohemia 97: Kopplin's Breve 96: Corn Chowder at Barrio 95: Crescent Moon's House Special Football-Shaped Pizza 94: Buffalo Tots at the Blue Door Pub 93: Duck Burger at the Happy Gnome 92: Mac's Industrial Tuna Melt 91: Toast Bar at Canteen 90: Sonora Grill's Eggplant Fries 89: Brasa's Pineapple Ginger Ale 88: The Freehouse's Cheese Curds with Quince Jam 87: Black Coffee and Waffle Bar's Naughty Waffle 86: Czar Jack at Town Hall Brewery 85: Soft-Shell Crab Fried Rice at Tiny Diner 84: Sanduche de Pollo at Chimborazo 83: Grand Café's Eggs en Cocotte 82: Pollo Tacos at Las Teresitas 81: Chicken Tikka Masala at Himalayan Restaurant 80: Cornmeal Galette with Ham and Sweet Corn from Black Walnut Bakery 79: Cheddar Biscuits and Gravy at the Third Bird 78: The Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich at Lake and Irving 77: The Larry from Taco Cat 76: Lobster and Eggs from Eat Street Social 75: New York Strip with Trumpet Royale Mushrooms from Sparks 74: Icehouse's Sipping Shots 73: The Prairie Dog at Prairie Dogs 72: Dr. IPA at Public Kitchen & Bar 71: Patisserie 46's Éclair 70: Dong Hae's Korean Style Chicken Wings 69: Birchwood's Black Bottom Coconut Cream Pie 68: Coup d'Etat's Gnocchi 67: Egg, Cheddar & Bacon Biscuit Sandwich at Colossal Cafe 66: Red Wagon Pizza's Sausage Espagnole 65: Verdant Tea's Chinese Hash 64: The St. Paul Cheese Shop's Chorizo Sandwich 63: House of Curry's Pol Roti 62: Goat Cheese Curds from the Curious Goat 61: Post-Dessert Dessert at Spoon and Stable 60: Table-Side Caesar Salad from the Salt Cellar 59: Nam-Khao from On's Thai Kitchen 58: Poutine at Triple Rock 57: Black Sheep's Meatball, Ricotta, and Garlic Pizza 56: Eli's East's Pistachio Cheesecake 55: Shrimp and Grits at Smack Shack 54: The Southside at World Street Kitchen 53: Size 7 from Steel Toe Brewing 52: Khao Soi at Sen Yai Sen Lek 51: Burger, Fries, and Hamm's at Nightingale 50: The Delmonico Steak at Capital Grille 49: Foie Gras at Cosmos 48: Braised Pork Tostadas at Sanctuary 47: Bucatini Bolognese at Lyn 65 46: Sauerkraut Grilled Cheese at Gyst Fermentation Bar 45: Frozen Blood Orange Parfait at the Kenwood 44: Deep Dish Sausage Pizza at Davanni's 43: Lengua Burrito from El Taco Riendo 42: Slice from Hello Pizza 41: Tagliarini di Locanda del Lupo at Broder's 40: House Hot Dog at Kyatchi 39: Big Boy Ranch Plate from Chef Shack Ranch 38: Seared Salmon with Ginger, Scallion, and Sweet Soy at Quang 37: Corn Pancakes at Maria's Cafe 36: 'Nduja Egg Raviolo at Bar La Grassa 35: A to Z Pizza Farm Pizza 34: Fried Dumplings at Far East 33: Dutch Baby at Libertine 32: Coney Island Dog at Heartland 31: Japanese Fried Chicken (JFC) at Moto-i 30: The Calabrian at Terzo's Porchetteria 29: Siberian Pelmeni at Moscow on the Hill 28: 25-Cent Small Treats at Burch 27: Turkey Wild Rice Soup at Cook St. Paul 26: Sesame Chicken at Pho 79 25. Corn Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich at Hola Arepa 24: Kinoko Soba at Masu 23: The Hendrick's at Five Watt Coffee 22: Pizzeria Lola's Korean BBQ Pizza 21: Smørrebrød (Fancy Brunch Toasts) at Bachelor Farmer 20: Salmon Skin Roll at Origami 19: Point Steak with Marrow Butter at Libertine 18: Blackened Salmon Toro at Shag 17: Pan Bagnat at Meritage 16: Coffee and French Toast at Tongue in Cheek 15: Butterscotch Budino at 112 Eatery 14: Bogart's Doughnut Co.'s Brown Butter-Glazed Doughnut 13: Spice, Rice, Everything Nice at the Rabbit Hole 12: Scallop Cooked and Raw at the Brut Pop-Up 11: Corzetti pasta at Corner Table 10: Duck Confit with Magical Fruit at Workshop 9: Tennessee Hot Fried Chicken at Revival 8: Octopus at Borough 7: Hola Arepa's Beef & Plantain Arepa
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