Bigoli and braised lamb shoulder is currently on the ever-changing menu at Tenant. Submitted photos

Bigoli and braised lamb shoulder is currently on the ever-changing menu at Tenant. Submitted photos

The new tenants

Updated: July 27, 2017 - 2:43 pm

Doug Flicker has left the building. But the kitchen maestro’s style of compositions continues to be orchestrated by the pair of once-employees who recently replaced his Piccolo with Tenant on the same site.

As the French put it, “The king is dead. Long live the [new] king!”

Tenant — which, as Piccolo (Italian for “tiny”), earned its name with five tables and a few more counter seats — shines as white and bright and busy as before. And the chummy, ultra-talented staffers maintain that inherited opinion of who’s here to serve whom. (Me: “Sir, the [abrasive, anti-relaxing] music is too loud.” They: “We don’t think so.”)

That said, the food and experience are a treat.

Here’s the drill: Arrive (by rez) and take your seat for a six-course (“We won’t tell you what it is”) tasting menu, bargain-priced at $50, served rapidly. (You’re not here to enjoy a leisurely evening with companions; this is more like a dining seminar.)

The menu remains similar for months, simply rotating one dish in and out per week. Tenant’s beverage list is limited (and that’s fine): three pairings for $25 or BTG. My choice, a Hungarian white, proved light, floral and underwhelming. Next to me on the stools, a couple of cooks from a different establishment drank their sparkling Spanish cava with a chaser of Hamm’s.

Tenant 1

The menu includes three pasta courses and three with smallish bits of protein. All are composed as if by tiny, focused elves for guests of dollhouse stature.

We started with a delicious dish featuring a few teaspoons of sweet, admirably juicy beef tartare anchoring a composition that included bits (bring a magnifying glass) of charred cauliflower, beet buds, onion petals, a sole asparagus tip, beans cut in quarter-inch segments and nasturtium petals, presented with homemade XO sauce and dill (and probably half a dozen other micro-ingredients I failed to note).

Course two: capeletti, homemade pasta “hats” containing a slurpy, creamy, blue-like cheese in a bowl that also included tiny specks of speck (like ham), burnt broccoli mini (and I do mean mini) florets and more in a rich, charred cabbage broth, poured tableside.

Third, a raviolo called doppio — “double” — because the single pasta square, flaunting pretty stripes of black garlic on its golden façade, contains two separate fillings: one, crumbles of fennel sausage, just as you’d expect on pizza; the second, a creamy ricotta. Green garlic flavors both. It’s terrific. In fact, I want another (but, of course, didn’t ask).

Then, course four. Time for salmon — a bit larger than a poker chip, sweet and tender beneath its crispy skin. It cohabits with a fried oyster, charred onion, translucent rounds of radish, nasturtium leaves and — a surprise, and unsuitable — a big (for here) hunk of herbed potatoes (which the beer-and-cava boys praised mightily), along with beurre blanc and golden globules of smoked roe.

Course five (aka the entrée, I suppose — it’s more substantial): delicious bits of braised lamb shoulder, hunkering under a tangle of bigoli (think robust spaghetti) along with a poached quail egg to pierce and moisten the strands, baby mushrooms, tasteless English peas and a topping of fine-shaved Parmesan. Oh, and a teaser of tarragon.

Time for dessert, and it’s a lovely one: house-made ice cream (natch; they probably make the salt and sugar, too) that’s a smooth, fruity blend of black and red raspberries and red currants, which also garnish the scoop, along with candied pine nuts and puffed sorghum (picture subdivided popcorn kernels), providing a nice, salty balance for the sweets. With it arrived a complimentary glass of Belgian-style framboise beer: summer in a glass.

In and out in 90 minutes and a lot of fun. Plus a lot of persnickety pretention. Best of luck, boys!

4300 Bryant Ave. S.

827-8111

tenantmpls.com