Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cafe Agri


Cafe Agri
4300 Bryant Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55409

I have yet to decipher my feelings about Café Agri. What I do know is I like the idea of a local neighborhood café, organic and gluten free which focuses on the locally grown and sustainable food methods. It certainly brings something unique. I also have a personal attachment to the corner location which is across the street from my old elementary school. From what I’ve read the public is not too happy with Agri’s service and maybe not entirely in love with the food either. I’m not sure how I feel yet, but maybe once I start writing I’ll be able to better explain everything to you all.

Located just blocks away from my parent’s house we took an early evening walk down to Agri last Saturday. We timidly entered inside in search of a hostess who could seat us outside. The young woman who came out of the kitchen greeted us kindly and allowed us to pick a table of our choice inside or out. The restaurant itself is very small and probably can house about 25 people max. The décor is a mix of modern, café and shabby chic. You can also sit outside at tables just located on the sidewalk. Things are usually pretty quiet as far as traffic noise.

Our hostess also turned out to be our server and contrary to what most other reviewers said our service was pretty decent. She was pleasant and visited our table just enough to take our drink order, food order, check in and refill our water glasses. The menu is fairly limited, but all organic and gluten free. I like to eat fresh food, but I’m not organic savvy at all so I just sort of pointed and picked a dish that had something familiar in the description. My parents who accompanied us had been to Agri on a couple of occasions both for breakfast and dinner. They seemed to have a few favorites and enjoyed what Agri had to offer for the most part.

Our dishes arrived in a timely manner starting with the yam crisps. Like potato chips, but lighter and sweet, served with guacamole which was creamy, refreshing and a little garlicky. We each order different entrees. I went with the smoked trout sandwich which turned out to be nothing that I expected, but was still good. I opted for salad instead of chips ($2.00 extra) which I regretted soon after tasting the salad. Expecting the freshest most amazing organic salad ever I was disappointed with the meager greens and carrot sticks covered in an overly tart and tangy dressing. I did not finish the salad. The smoke trout sandwich made up for the greens though. Turned out the trout was actually prepared as a spread, like a tuna or chicken salad. It was flavored with orange and red onions, an awesome combination. Although I would have been happy with a big piece of smoked trout so I could admire the texture, the sandwich turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

The other 3 in my party had pasta dishes. Two went for the walnut pesto (a dish my parents had had before and enjoyed) and one with the ravioli. From what I was told everyone enjoyed their dishes. I had a taste of the pesto and it was pretty normal, I guess I didn’t know what I expected, but it was just like any other pesto I’ve tried. The ravioli was a little funny look. Pale in color they looked like little pillows without cases set on a bed of tomato sauce and capers. To me they looked flavorless just due to their lack of pigment, but my dad said the sauce was really robust and with a lot of flavor elements from the capers, portobellos and fennel.

A long review and what do I have to show for it? Still not sure how I feel overall about Café Agri, but I do know that our experience last Saturday was delightful. Personally the food is not something that I would wake in the middle of night yelling for, but for a good healthy meal and for something a little different I would probably go back. And, as always, I’m in full support of the locally owned and those who support the local producers. Green on Agri, Green on.

Yam Crisps

Glutten free raviolli

Penne w/pesto

Smoked trout spread


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