Lenny Russo is a very brilliant man, he’s a visionary–seeing far off into the future, so far in fact that a mere mortal like me can only begin to understand the genius by studying his cuisine. I had the opportunity to do so last Thursday night, the memory of which is seared into my mind with extraordinary clarity, an experience I’ll not soon forget.
The first course was an oxtail soup, but no, not an ordinary oxtail soup. It was as if the contents from an emptied sink had been swirled in a bowl with some warm water, with only a simple crouton to garnish. As I ate it I was sure that it must have been similar to the soup served in Soviet forced work camps–salt would have surely ruined it, clearly knowing this he had added none. It was equal parts Fear Factor and Survivor, with it’s fatty porridgy blandness starring back at me, but it was 100% Brilliant.
That course was followed by sliced Bison atop a dark syrupy reduction of what could only have been local soy sauce mixed with the fruit of the ginkgo tree. The meat itself was a singular achievement, not even the Hubba Bubba chewing gum people could have conceived of the struggle to render it digestible.
The piece de resistance came at the end when the dessert was presented. It was a piece of cake, a square piece of sheet pan cake cold from the fridge with two simple sauces that clung to the surface of the plate, picture if you will a child being stripped from the arms of its mother and you can imagine the tenacity to which the sauce clung to the surface. The cake was sublimely amateurish, as if almost meant to toy knowingly with the guest, teasing and tantalizing us with it’s undiscovered potential–perhaps only obvious to the most sophisticated of palates.
My mind is clapping as I remember.
Sublime…truly there are not enough stars in all the sky to reward this extraordinary adventure, as I sit here now, for the life of me I can think of only fifty or sixty restaurants in the Twin Cities that are better.