Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cosmos

Visited on Wednesday, March 4th with Kate and Kyle

Graves 601

Ben's Review
After some deliberation, we decided on going to Cosmos for restaurant week. We wanted to go to a place where the price during restaurant week would be a bargain compared to the normal menu prices and Cosmos fit the bill.

The deal at Cosmos was $30 for a set menu:

- a choice of Creamy Lobster Salad or Baby Arugula
- a choice of ahi tuna or duck for the entree
- a choice of nine layer chocolate cake or creme brulee for dessert

After reading the restaurant week menu, I assumed that the items would not be the same items offered on the normal menu. I figured they would either be smaller portions or simplified items because of the lower cost. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the items WERE the same as the normal menu. Adding up my items the food alone would have come to $50, so Cosmos turned out to be an excellent choice.

Erin and I walked through the skyway after work to Cosmos, which is on the fourth floor of the graves 601 hotel, across from Target Center. We were early for our 6pm reservations so we sat at the bar for a cocktail while we were waiting. The place was completely empty when we arrived, which made it good for photos - it's strange to see not a single person wandering around.

Inside Cosmos

The bartender was a nice guy and he gave us some wasabi peas and snack mix to go along with our martinis. I had a gin/vodka martini with Hendrix gin and Effen vodka and it was excellent, and I'm not even a big martini fan in the first place. (Small side story about Effen vodka - my dad likes the Effen bottle so much that he kept the bottle and refills it with other vodka he buys, true story).

Cosmos Bar

Gin and Vodka Martini with a twist

Munchies at the bar

Kate and Kyle showed up a little after 6 and we were brought to our table. By this point a couple other people had arrived, so we didn't have the entire dining room to ourselves, which would have been even weirder.

Creamy Lobster Salad

I went with the lobster salad, ahi tuna, and chocolate cake options. The lobster salad was fantastic, the beet soup and the vanilla foam made it a unique salad experience. The ahi tuna came with squid dumplings and seaweed. The tuna also had wasabi in the middle of the cut which gave it a good flavor. The tuna was excellent as well, I really liked the seaweed and the dumplings.

Puffed Wild Rice Crusted Ahi Tuna

For dessert I had the chocolate cake, which I thought had a misleading name. Nine layer chocolate cake conjures images of a tall piece of cake, maybe 6-7 inches high. This was not that cake. Instead this was a short, long piece of cake and I'm sure there were nine layers in there somewhere, but it's not nearly as daunting as I thought it would be. It certainly tasted good, no doubt about that. Also with dessert Kyle and I each had a pour of Laphroaig 10 year scotch, which was better than the cake :)

Laphroaig 10 Years

Cosmos has delicious food and great service, both at the bar and at our table. However, I probably won't be back here anytime soon as the prices are higher than I like to spend on a meal (although we are going to trump Cosmos with our meal this coming weekend). I was glad to be able to try it out at a discount and I would recommend others do the same during restaurant week next year.

  • Service: Great service, our server was awesome and the bartender was friendly.
  • Food: The food tasted excellent and the presentation was particularly good.
  • Drinks: Not sure what the beer list is like but they have several wine options and a full bar. Be prepared to spend some money though.
  • Ambiance: Cosmos is a really cool looking place, very modern. The ambiance while we were there was muted, but I think that was only because it was not busy. We were easily the loudest table in the place.
  • Price: Cosmos is expensive. At normal prices you'll be looking at $50 per person, just for food.
  • Convenience: Located in the graves 601 hotel. They validate parking at two nearby lots, which is nice, and there are buses that can get you there.
Erin's Review
Thank you to the few and the proud that responded to our Restaurant Week poll! We ended up choosing Cosmos based on the value of their restaurant week menu, and I think we made a great choice! I figured this would be the type of place Kate and Kyle would enjoy as well, so we invited them along for the ride. Kate blogged about the experience here. I made reservations on opentable for Wednesday night about a week and a half prior to our night out, and it seemed like most of the RW places were wide open - I wonder how the turnout was for other places?

As a happy coincidence, this ended up being a celebration dinner for me, as earlier that day, I received an offer (and accepted!) for a new job within my company! I'm glad that happened for a multitude of reasons, but for that night it at least semi justified what ended up being a pretty expensive dinner :)

We got there a little before 6, and as Ben mentioned, the place was totally and completely empty, including the bar. This was odd, but luckily a few others trickled in while we waited for Kate and Kyle to accidentally go to Chambers instead of Cosmos :) They got there at about 6:10 or so and thank god, the host hadn't given away our table :)

Passion Fruit Martini

The menu that was on the
MSP Magazine website for Cosmos was very simple, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the menu choices were actually the same as the normal menu and not watered down versions due to the lower price. I chose the arugula salad, duck with optional side of foie gras, and the chocolate cake. Our waitress was great - it took us awhile to stop talking long enough to examine the menu so she had to come back several times. She seemed to enjoy having the entertainment though.

Restaurant Week Menu

We got bread right away, which was warm and nutty flavored. The waitress brought out more after we finished one basket (probably not necessary, but much appreciated). The amuse bouche came out - it had something to do with salmon tartar and was fresh tasting and a good start to the meal.

Bread

Amuse Bouche

The arugula salad was pretty standard - I really like arugula, blue cheese, candied nuts, and pears so obviously I was going to like this salad. I thought the presentation of the salad was beautiful. I had one bite of Ben's salad and enjoyed the creaminess of the lobster and the beet flavor. Both choices were wonderful.

Arugula, Pear, Blue cheese, candied pecans

After the salad, we each got a shot of lingonberry explosion (I think) which I thought was an actual egg :) Yeah, I don't go to fancy restaurants too often. I was very glad to hear that it was just a little fruit juice that somehow had a skin around it, making it resemble an egg. This was very refreshing.

Lingonberry Explosion

The duck came out done medium, as I requested. The main course was very rich, with the fatty duck, sweet potatoes, duck confit and porcini cake. Throw in a side of seared foie gras and I could barely sleep that night from being so full. It was all worth it though :) The foie gras was buttery and delicious. Not sure I'll order it often, but I'm glad I tried it. It was almost too big of a portion for me to even finish. Kate has a great photo of it here.

Duck with a side of Foie Gras

At this point, obviously I was stuffed, but I still powered through to finish the 9 layer chocolate mousse cake. I thought this cake was the perfect size - I was very glad it wasn't as huge as you'd imagine a 9 layer cake to be. The cocoa puff crisps on top were an interesting change, and that in combination with the cake and the chocolate ice cream created what might be my perfect dessert.

Nine Layer Choclate Cake

Fancy Rolos
These came out after desesrt. Because we hadn't eaten enough.

This was quite an expensive meal with the pre-dinner martinis, glass of wine for me during dinner, and glass of scotch after dinner for Ben, so I'm very glad we came during Restaurant Week. We have so many fancy restaurants on our list that I don't know if we'll be back to Cosmos, but it is a great choice for an amazing dinner downtown. The ambiance is modern and cool, and it gets pretty crowded on weekends (so I hear at least) so it would have a good vibe.

Decor inside Cosmos Decor inside Cosmos Decor inside Cosmos
Decor inside Cosmos
Deets
Cosmos
601 1st Avenue North
Minneapolis

4 comments:

Kristi said...

Great photography! I am jealous of your skills (and equipment too....what kind of camera/lens do you use?

Riely said...

Funny... my boyfriend and I went there for a late, late brunch a couple of months ago and were also the only people in the restaurant.
I realize Cosmos isn't known for brunch (the crab cakes were filled with crab but didn't taste very fresh- the bloody marys were DIVINE), but I was shocked!

Erin said...

Kristi - Sorry for the delay in commenting back! I shoot with a Canon Digital Rebel XTi and most of my food shots are taken with my 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this Blog. very nice pictures and Writing. If you liked Restaurant week then heare this, We are doing 30 dollar sundays in the dinign room now,starting March 22. The same deal: choice of Starter, entre and Dessert.
Chef de cuisine Hakan Lundberg Cosmos