We went on a Sunday evening and the place was filled with diners. The host was very accommodating. We had noticed a booth had opened up in the back and even though we were a party of two, he was able to accommodate our request to sit there. Service for that matter was also really good. Our server knew the menu very well and was able to make good recommendations.
The restaurant in my opinion is one of the more successful attempts at what seems to be the latest dining trend the “neighborhood bistro”. A comfortable environment where you can get a decent glass of wine, a range of interesting entrees and you don’t need to spend a ton of money or get dressed up. Not really fine dining but not your neighborhood burger bar either. While I do enjoy this type of restaurant, I do wish that the twin cities could support a broader fine dining, non-steakhouse scene. Cafe Maude offers a great environment along with live entertainment a couple nights a week. They also serve breakfast, brunch and lunch and seemed family friendly. I noticed a stack of high chairs in the corner.
The majority of the current dinner menu is on the heavier side (appropriate for winter), featuring a collection of wood grilled meats, a variety of interesting sides and a cheese menu(a personal favorite of mine). They also feature a collection of specials that looked intriguing.
We decided to start with entrees, order a side dish and save room for dessert. I began with a glass of Louis Latour Pinot Noir. I ordered the Fennel crusted braised short ribs with roasted garlic baby red mashed potatoes and Hacker Pschorr battered onion rings. It was perfect comfort food on a cold night. Portions are not overwhelming in size and the short ribs were nicely done. I am not sure how the fennel was worked in but the ribs were flavorful. They do a nice twist on the mashed potatoes by cooking them on the griddle before serving creating a crust almost like hash browns would have. In my opinion the onion rings were the best part of this dish. They were lightly battered and not overcooked. I think that onion haters would even enjoy them.
We also tried their Hamburger. We added grilled mushrooms and St. Andre Cheese. The burger had a wonderful smoky flavor to it. They have a wide selection of condiments you can add including a fried egg. We also chose the caramelized brussel sprouts. They were served with a fresh salad of apple and beets. If you like brussel sprouts I highly recommend this dish.
For dessert we tried the chocolate pistachio torte with pistachio ice cream. I enjoyed this because it was not too rich and was perfect for the two of us to share. It came with a spearmint sauce drizzled on the plate along with crushed pistachios. The next time we go back I would like to try their chocolate and hazelnut fried raviolis. This seems like a unique dessert that I have yet to see anywhere on a menu.
Overall Cafe Maude offers a nice dining experience. I would highly recommend making a reservation, though they do have a nice bar area and waiting area to hang out and have a drink before you are seated if you are feeling spontaneous. They also have a free parking lot next to the building and there was plenty of off street parking available. I’ll be going back for lunch next.