Vive la Revolution

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February 19, 2014
By: Carla Waldemar
Carla Waldemar

The rebels have done it again. Coup d’Etat — which translates, roughly, to ousting the Establishment — is the nom de guerre of the new Uptown restaurant by the boys behind Borough, which overturned the status quo in the Warehouse District just a year ago.

The menu’s similarly innovative (and spot-on), the cocktail list pure genius, and the (much larger) space brings a welcome touch of class to the neighborhood’s dining options. The vast room, surrounded by balcony seating, sparkles with snazzy chandeliers, warming white marble tabletops and black faux-leather upholstered seating. A counter of stools overlooks the open kitchen, and a grand Napoleonic mural salutes the hero of French Revolutionaries. Never mind the caring servers and location across from the Lagoon Theater — drop the digs into Brainerd and it would still make a splash.

Needless to add, we ate well, starting with the potted foie gras mousse from the app list ($8-$15), so ready to be smooshed over toasts of brioche, its unctuous, fatty raison d’etre accented by a sweet-spiked topknot of kumquats and Grand Marnier. Just as good for your morale and bad for your diet, the savory chunks of pork belly, accented by potato butter (we needed more fat, right?) and steamed cabbage — a workable, if not particularly inspired, sidekick. Next time I’ll explore the frogs’ legs, bone marrow and harissa-kissed octopus, too.

Four seafood and four meat options inform the mains ($22–$30), abetted by pizza and pasta ($11–$15) for the movie crowd. We shared a plate of scallops, sweet and nubile and the size of tennis balls, set upon bitty grains of couscous awakened with a scattering of pickled raisins and a sweet slick of apple butter. Comfort food, indeed. So was the pork osso buco — two uber-meaty, slightly brined hunks that provided a second dinner via doggie bags. They’re nestled upon orange-scented Israeli couscous, along with snips of spinach, halved turnips (whose sharp flavor hits a wrong note on the plate) and almonds. We couldn’t resist (well, why?) adding a dish of Brussels sprouts from the list of sides (under $10) — tender, long-cooked little nuggets studded with bacon bits and candied walnuts conducting volleys of savory and sweet. Next time: the cauliflower gratin, maybe the polenta.

Dessert? Mais oui. However, the kitchen’s list of sweets is surprisingly tame for this crew: the usual tiramisu, carrot cake, crème brulee. But when our server ended her recital with donut holes to dip in hot chocolate sauce, sided with slabs of candied bacon: well, then! Yummy.

Besides those signature cocktails, there’s a credible and affordable list of wines by bottle or BTG as well as interesting craft beers on tap. The moral of this story: Vive la France!