The culinary team wields the kind of cooking chops that could play in New York City, in the sorts of restaurants where the cooking isn't just good, it's best.
Of course, a place like this is a notoriously tough reservation, and first-come-first-served in the bar is a game of chance. Brunch to the rescue.
While reservations are still recommended, it was a cinch to get one at the coveted 12:30 spot on a recent Sunday. And though the place is still bustling inside, there's an air of calm that few restaurants can maintain on a busy weekend.
Service at Spoon and Stable is very good. Servers and bussers move throughout the room, slow and steady like ballerinas. They're capable, friendly, and feel more like facilitators than service staff.
Immaculate light flows through the dramatic skylights, another benefit of visiting during the day. Skip your Vitamin D pills for once.
Once seated, you'll be invited to the pastry bar, which abuts the open kitchen. A dozen or so of pastry chef Diane Yang's stunning baked creations tempt the eye and the nose. It's like walking into a bakery, sans the glass barriers. The urge to reach out and grab something is considerable.
But instead you'll be armed with a checklist and a bowling pencil. Select what your heart desires. At about $4 a pastry, there's no need to exercise restraint. Chocolate croissants are devilishly good, with a melting chocolate squiggling out the end as you bite. Pistachio croissants hide a marvel of mint-colored pastry cream within, cool and smooth as ice cream. Salted caramel donuts belie the elegant surroundings - they're the stuff of fairs and carnivals.
After you've made your selections, they'll land on your table in little vintage cookie tins like grandma used to have. The pastry bar is an especially sweet, interactive amenity if you have kids in tow.
Now that you're good and stuffed on fine pastries and coffee that flows like a river, turn to the menu.
Elegant as you want it to be, Spoon and Stable carries over some of its finer-dining sensibilities to brunch time. A sudden daytime hankering for raw oysters can be assuaged, as can a craving for bison tartare or a peekytoe crab tartine.
But we loved Spoon and Stable's way with eggs, from classic to altogether new. A croque madame is rich as anything gets, with brioche French Toast sandwiching house-made ham, a blanket of bechamel, and runny Gruyere, all crowned with a creamy egg. A side of house-made potato chips means you're truly throwing caution to the wind this afternoon.
If you've never heard of red wine-poached eggs, then join the club. They're just what they sound like and we loved how they turned a morning meal on its head. The eggs come resting on a raft of rustic dark bread, grilled and then festooned with a blitz of wild mushrooms. The dish is earthy, lusty, and almost dinner-like in its savoriness.
Pair it with a slab of house bacon that's more like a steak in its size and gravity, and things really get interesting.
But Spoon and Stable really accommodates in the more everyday brunch department. Try alluring buttermilk waffles covered in airy vanilla cream for just $8, or a spinach and caramelized onion quiche for $9, plus a bunch of classic $7 sides like hash browns with Gruyere or yogurt and granola.
Some of the best cocktails in the city go for $10, a pretty good deal in a part of town where a drink can easily soar into the $15 range with nobody batting an eye. The Salty Dog and Corpse Reviver have been re-tinkered to reach centerfold levels of perfection. They're the ideal in day drinking.
If you've saved room (though we don't know how), end things with a slice of crepe cake or a profiterole ice cream sundae. It's a charmed way to live life on a Sunday.
Spoon and Stable
Brunch served Sundays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
211 First. St. N., Minneapolis