Aster Cafe has new brunch items

One of the most pleasant patios in Minneapolis

One of the most pleasant patios in Minneapolis

There aren't many things Minnesotans enjoy more than sitting on a patio, and time is growing short. Recently, we decided to visit the Aster Cafe to check out the new brunch menu.

If you haven't been to the Aster's patio, go quickly, at least for one drink, before the cold comes and stays for good. The patio is spacious and full of greenery. It's right on the river, on the edge of downtown Minneapolis, and has a glorious view of the skyline.

Here's what we found on the new menu.

[jump] What would brunch be without a bloody Mary? While we found them lacking in the spice department, the bloodies were a perfectly adequate way to kick off a Sunday morning.

We started with the Star Prairie smoked trout bagel ($6). The tanginess of the crumbled salmon and chive cream cheese was nicely mellowed out by the arugula. The pile of pickled onions were beautifully plated, but the quantity made for an overwhelming amount of onion in the first bite

The breakfast burrito ($7) is a decent-sized bundle of scrambled eggs, black bean and corn salsa, queso fresco, and chimichurri. The chimichurri gave every taste a warm, garlicky layer. The Aster's version of a breakfast burrito is a nice alternative to traditional heavy brunch fare--though next time we would definitely add the pulled pork ($2) to further jazz up the dish.

The first thing we noticed about the artichoke and brie sandwich ($8) was the beautiful crusty baguette. The bread gave a satisfying crunch that perfectly contrasted with the satisfying softness of the brie and sweet caramelized onions.

Aster's scrambled egg sandwich ($6) is no reinvention of the breakfast sandwich wheel, but there is really nothing wrong with that. Toasted bread, egg, cheddar, and spinach--it's not terribly exciting, but that's okay because we sometimes need a comforting breakfast standard. Not to mention, for $6, it's a steal.

The only blemish on the day was the service. The drinks took about 20 minutes with a separate trip to bring water. Then we received place settings of napkins and knives with the promise of forks to come. Our rather uncomplicated food order took about 45 minutes to arrive, with an additional wait for the forks to materialize. The only thing that was prompt was the arrival of our check--so prompt, in fact, that it felt as if we were being shooed away.


Still, the patio is a gem, and worth a visit before the season finally ends.