Thursday, April 30, 2009

VICTOR’S 1959 – Minneapolis

Victor’s 1959 is a hidden neighborhood gem in south Minneapolis. This tiny family-run eatery features some of the best Cuban cuisine I have eaten in years. Niki Stavrou has been serving her and her family’s incredible recipes for 10 years. In 2008, Victor’s was featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” program.

Victor’s has seating for approximately 40 guests inside at tables covered with plastic floral tablecloths and another 25 guests on their patio (weather permitting, of course). This comfortable space has signatures of the famous and not-so-famous on their walls and ceilings. They have a very large guestbook.

My friend, Julie, had a mango mimosa. She loved it! I had a beer (no vodka in the building) only because they serve wine & beer.

We started with empanadas – fried pastry dough filled with ground beef, minced onion, garlic and maybe a hint of cilantro. I found not a spot of oil on the plate. Delicious! You can also choose from chicken, veggie, or mozzarella cheese with sweet red peppers. Cubans eat empanadas at any meal, but most often at lunch or as a snack. Maybe this is their version of fast food.

We decided to share our entrees. First we chose the Picadillo a la Cubana – sautéed ground beef with chopped green & red pepper, onion, capers, and raisins in a Creole sauce. The Creole sauce is a comforting blend of onion sweet peppers, tomato, marjoram, sugar and garlic. The Picadillo was garnished with green onion and had a generous side of white rice and black beans and, of course, fried sweet plantains. Fantastic!

Our second entrée was the Cuban Stew of shrimp, chunks of chicken breast, slices of Spanish chorizo, corn, and green onion. This amazing bowl of comfort food was slow cooked in a thick Creole sauce with a little white wine added for good measure! I believe I detected a bit of cayenne heat. The stew arrived with a side bowl of fluffy saffron rice and more plump fried sweet plantains. Trust me, there were no leftovers.

In between our entrees, we had a small salad of crispy mixed wild greens drizzled with an incredible garlic mayo vinaigrette dressing. Yumm!

For dessert, we had the Xango Chango! – a rich ‘n smooth slightly tangy cheesecake rolled in a very flaky pastry, quickly fried and seriously dusted in sugar and cinnamon. This decadent dessert is served over fresh guava puree. It is an amazing combination of warm, cool, sweet and tangy! We ended our “off the charts” dinner with Café Cubanos – espresso + sugar.

The only thing missing besides an ocean breeze and palm trees were sugar cubes. I prefer nibbling on a sugar cube that has absorbed some of the espresso rather than adding sugar directly to the espresso.

Niki and her very friendly and helpful staff will be seeing me very soon!

Mmm, 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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