Sunday, March 29, 2009

BALI - Minneapolis

Bali is located on Nicollet Avenue (north end of Eat Street). It is a recent and welcomed addition the neighborhood. The comfortable space has red and black walls with touches of Indonesian “art” and high ceilings making it seem bigger than it is. The small bar, seats maybe 10, was full the entire time we were dining. I recommend that they cover the metal feet of the dining room’s heavy chairs; their constant noisy scraping across the stone tile floor is an annoyance.

My friend, Bev, who spends a great deal of time in Bali, agreed to join me at Bali for dinner. After all, is it possible to compare a restaurant to a live-in cook at your villa in Bali? Yes. She loved it and so did I.

Bev’s libation for the evening was malbec and mine was the “Balitini” – a fantastic blend of vodka and a splash of Thai chili pepper infused pineapple juice. The hint of an ‘after burn’ was a bit unusual and very interesting. I had 2!

We decided to share plates. For starters, we had the Gurita Goreng – a threesome of lightly breaded, fried baby octopus resting in a citrusy herb and garlic sauce. The sauce resembled a thin pesto. Delicious!

For dinner, we had the Daging Rendang. Rendang is dry rubbed chunks of lean beef simmered in a rich, intensely seasoned brown coconut gravy. Some of the spices that popped out included turmeric, ginger, shallots & lemon grass. The melt-in-your-mouth tender pieces of beef were tossed with thinly sliced potatoes & carrot slivers. Incredible! A cone shaped serving of jasmine rice infused with coconut milk wrapped in a banana leaf comes with the dish. So tasty, I could eat it alone. Our vegetable was the Tumis Kecang Panjang – long thin crispy green beans (chopped into bite size pieces) and nuggets of tofu stir-fried & tossed in a nutty, garlic soy-based sauce slightly sweetened with palm sugar.

Bev insisted we have the Black Rice for dessert. The exotic, but simple dessert is lightly sweetened with coconut milk. The rice had a slightly chewy texture. A perfect ending to an outstanding meal.

Our server was very attentive and was able to answer all of Bev’s questions. I was there to enjoy a meal with my friend.

I recommend changing the music. Play more international selections, less "American pop" and certainly no need for the thumping "house music" after 10p. This is not a club; those wanting house music should head downtown.

Also, the one negative is the exhaust system in the kitchen. It is weak; be prepared to leave smelling somewhat like your dinner and those meals served next to you. Be warned... leave your best clothes home.

I hope the number of filled tables is an indication of a new energy that will be on Nicollet Avenue for many years.

Mmm, Mmm…


$ 10
$$ 20
$$$ 30
$$$$ 40+

+ Stop bothering me!
++ Anyone here?
+++ Stopped when in the area.
++++ As needed and friendly.
+++++ Invisibly perfect!

✦ “One visit too many!”
✦✦ “Convince me!”
✦✦✦ “I’ll be back!”
✦✦✦✦ “Same table next week!”

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