The Inn: A tour of the bar and menu, part 2

Chef Tyge Nelson & Tim Niver

Chef Tyge Nelson & Tim Niver

The food menu for the Inn is intentionally simplistic, listing entrees and few ingredients.  "There are five usual dishes on any menu," Tim Niver explains. "Chicken, beef, pork, fish, and veg. We have each of those." 

Eschewing the resume-like menus that list each ingredient's origin and pedigree, the Inn's includes such minimalist descriptors as this for the charcuterie plate: "Cured Meats: Pate/Preserves/Bread." But of course, it's so much more than that.

Yesterday we offered our impressions of the Inn's bar. Here are a few of our discoveries on the menu during a recent visit.

[jump] Despite the simplicity of its "Cured Meats" description, what arrives on the charcuterie plate is actually house-made foie gras pate topped with a thin layer of the Inn's own fig jam served with freshly made crostini, spicy soppressata, thin slices of tender porchetta (pork loin wrapped in bacon, gently cooked to meaty, melting sweetness), dried porcini-studded salumi, cappricola, and a grainy mustard-dressed apple mostrada. 

That pairs fabulously with the Polish Delight from the drink menu: Bison Grass vodka, ginger, and apple and scallion simple syrup mixed with sparkling white white and served with a fresh lemon curlicue. The drink almost begs to be paired with something salty, smoky, and decidedly porky, with a sweet, grassy kiss from the scallion-infused syrup and a sassy little smack to the back of the tongue from the ginger.  Just as a chef builds flavors to complement one another in the kitchen, the Inn's bartender does the same with the cocktails.

Each dish is thoughtfully constructed by chef Tyge Nelson (formerly of La Belle Vie and Barrio). The beef is more than just a hunk of red meat. It is locally sourced, grass-fed Thousand Hills, slow braised shortribs, soaked in a rich Madeira wine embrace, served over creamy farina.

Many of the ingredients are locally sourced (the pickled herring is done in house and fished from Lake Superior), and the Inn serves grass-fed, ethically raised beef because, in short, it tastes better. 

But for obvious reasons, not all things come from our backyard.  A recent fish special was opah wrapped in pancetta and served with a shrimp buerre blanc sauce. The delicate fish was evenly and expertly cooked despite being twice as thick as a deck of cards--light and flaky without a hint of fishiness. The ethereal flavor was coaxed to dazzling heights with soft white wine and rich butter kisses. The little nubs of shrimp, also perfectly cooked, bobbed about in their butter bath, imparting their own seawater savoriness.

Nothing is overwrought or precious. Each item that arrives on your plate is there because it tastes good and you will enjoy it. The welcoming vibe and friendly service are a conscious effort from Tim Niver and his team. "It's incredibly personal," he says in describing his restaurants. "We hope you enjoy it. We hope you like it, and if you do, great," he said smiling.

89 10th St. S., Minneapolis
612.886.2377; website