Wow – Cosmos
in Minneapolis, MN, in the Graves 601 Hotel at 601 North 1st Avenue
, is absolutely amazing. The restaurant is an upper floor at the upscale Graves 601 Hotel on 1st Avenue in downtown Minneapolis.
I first heard of Cosmos when I was taking a cooking class in Calhoun Square, and I asked the chef teaching us what his favorite restaurant in the Twin Cities was. He told me of a restaurant I hadn’t heard of, Cosmos in downtown Minneapolis at the Graves 601 Hotel – and I’ve been dying to go ever since (and kept hearing about the restaurant over and over again after that!)
The first thing we noticed? Free valet parking for Cosmo’s patrons, which is usually $15 at the hotel…makes you feel like a big-shot, and it lets my wife wear her “restaurant shoes”!
What a great night – I used to have a different restaurant as my favorite in the Twin Cities, but chefs John Occhiato and Khanh Tran at Cosmos in Minneapolis now win the gold for me. The food is incredible (including dessert), the place is gorgeous, and the service outstanding (and finding good service is difficult – and a good waiter and busboy really helps the meal!) The restaurant itself is gorgeous, very hip and and contemporary, but it doesn’t put on airs – they make you feel really comfortable. It’s easy to feel a bit out of it when going to a fancy restaurant, but Cosmos in Minneapolis, well, I’d love to go to it every week! They made us feel very special. I always repeat what Oprah says, it’s not what you say or even do, it’s how you make a person feel. And that feeling – that you’re important, and welcome, and they’re pleased to see you – that’s a huge deal. What a great restaurant.
And the food – wow! They started us out with a free amuse-bouche, just a little bite-sized treat to whet the appetite (lovely!) and Julie got this fantastic drink (below). I love appetizers, and we got this special one, which was several kinds of mushrooms that grow in the wild and that were foraged right here in Minnesota. Julie isn’t a fan of mushrooms, but wow, she loved these! Probably the only time she’ll ever love mushrooms. Served on toast…outstanding. I love the idea of fresh local ingredients, but wow, foraging – I’ve never seen that on a menu, and I loved it. It’s fun reading in magazines about all the new ways today’s new chefs prepare food (like foraging), and at Cosmos in Minneapolis, I finally got to actually try it – and loved it!
It’s funny, the bread that came with dinner…I could have eaten a whole meal of it. I’m really picky about bread at dinner, and usually in restaurants it’s pretty good, but nothing like this – warm from the oven, soft and also crunchy…just perfect, really! Talking about bread this much – well, we’re going to Paris in a few months, and I’m really curious to taste their bread over and over, and now I feel like I have something I can really compare it to, something that the best restaurant in Minneapolis has to offer.
We then ordered the scallops, and the pork, for our entrees…woah, every single bite was amazing. I love a good protein, but wow, when they make it with the perfect sauces and veggies to go with it, and it really enhances the experience. It was one of the few times where I liked the entrees as much as the appetizers (usually the appetizers are so tasty that they blow everything away), but here was a time where I loved both entrees, too (thanks to the waiter who recommended the scallops!) It’s fun ordering things like scallops and pork that I make at home, and seeing how a really great chef take ingredients that are better than I get at the super-market, and then prepare them perfectly, and then pair them with sides that enhance the food – it’s not only inspiring to me as a cook, it makes me want to try the other dishes!
And finally, the two fantastic desserts – the first one was ice cream wrapped in chocolate, and when the waiter poured hot fudge over it, the chocolate melted and showed us the ice cream. I loved it! While the term “molecular gastronomy” is a bit of a misnomer, (perhaps it should be called “avant garde cuisine”?), having a dessert that actually DID something was pretty spectacular, and then the second dessert, wow – I didn’t even know I liked panna cotta that much, but with this crazy cracker, and citrus “bubbles” (aka foam), it blew me away. This panna cotta dish was literally the best dessert I’ve EVER had, hands down! How could a non-chocolate dessert be this good? As Ferran Adria says in his biography, “Ferran”, it’s not about technique or anything else – it’s about the FOOD, the ingredients, the taste – finding ways to really taste the essence of the ingredients, sometimes by making you think of it in a different way, sometimes by highlighting different elements…Cosmos in Minneapolis has really got it. Simple but elegant, fun, beautiful, a meal that I thought about for days and days afterwards – what a great way to make an occasion special!
Oh, and afterwards? They brought us out two little chocolates – a sweet and thoughtful gesture, making us feel important and valued and that we made the right choice in Cosmos in Minneapolis!
Book a reservation by calling (612) 312-1168 or using this link through Open Table.