The Smoky Poet

The Pitmaster, Poet & Storyteller

Libertine: A Great Night Out No Doubt

By on August 9, 2015

In the Uptown area of Minneapolis, I finally had the opportunity to venture out to Libertine, which now occupies the former Cafeteria restaurant. Libertine is the brain-child of Tim McKee, of La Belle Vie. Located in Calhoun Square, Libertine offers a rooftop bar for cocktails and dinner or you can also sit in the main dinner area and enjoy a great night of food.

I waited in the bar and lounge area, which has some really good specials from 4pm to 7pm every night. However, these happy hour specials are not available on the rooftop bar and I also noticed the tap beer choice in the bar downstairs was slightly different than the choice on the rooftop. No worries, there was plenty of great choices in either place.

The view from the rooftop on a nice sunny evening was quite refreshing as I sipped on my refreshment. Although the sun was strong, there was a nice breeze making our pre-dinner cocktail rather enjoyable.I then headed down the elevator for dinner. For our dinner, I wanted to try to sample a wide-variety of different appetizers, so I opted for the charcuterie platter (fancy words for meats and cheese), bone marrow with toast and the pigs ears and the pig ears were divine. As for me, I really focused my efforts on the bone marrow, which if you have never experienced bone marrow before, you are in for a surprise.

In essence, bone marrow is where the long bones from a cow are cut in half and baked at a high temperature. The marrow inside the leg bone becomes gelatinous and Libertine tops the bone marrow off with some parsley, onions and capers. When ever I eat bone marrow, I also ask for a spoon, which Libertine may just want to bring with each serving of bone marrow. Simply scoop out the bone marrow, top on your toast and sit back and enjoy your drool. Then the coolest part of your bone marrow appetizer at Libertine is the “Whiskey Luge,” where you put one end of the leg bone into your mouth and your server pours whiskey into the bone and it runs down into your throat. While optional, I’d recommend you give the whiskey luge a try.

For my main course, I moved on the Tri-Tip steak and the Bacon Chop. Normally when I eat steak, I would have preferred to be asked what temperature I want the steak cooked. I normally like a medium-rare steak, but unfortunately my server didn’t ask. While still flavorful with the bone marrow butter atop, this medium to medium-well Tri-Tip steak may have been better for me if cooked at the medium-rare temperature.

The the bacon chop was topped with a crunchy onion ring. Now I know what you are thinking, what is a bacon chop? Think of a pork chop still with the fat cap on (i.e., not trimming off the fat), cold smoked for a while and then grilled to perfection. When I smoke my brisket or pork shoulder at home, leaving the fat cap on yields some additional moisture. Furthermore, I was told the trick to eating this dish is to cut a piece so you have a bit of the pork chop and a bit of the buttery fat cap. The flavor was excellent but if I wasn’t so full from our appetizers, I would have undoubtedly ate my whole plate.

As for my sides,I wanted to try just few so I ordered two: the sweet corn and the kale. Both of these appetizers I really enjoyed, because I only ate the sweet corn, which was slightly charred. Normally, I love kale, whether fried or crispy or just a salad, but I was really stuffed and couldn’t put another fork in my mouth.

Overall I had a great dinner at Libertine in the Uptown area in Minneapolis. Great drinks, great appetizers and great food.

So without further ado, here is my review in rhyme not haiku:

To Libertine
I  went for dinner
The drinks and great apps
They were a winner,

The bacon chop
I did like a lot
The marrow of bone
Will not make you groan.

Come one come call
From close or a far
McKee’s Libertine
Four out of five stars.

Libertine is located at 3001 Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis, but you can also visit them here by going to their website. You can also follow them on Twitter here, Instagram here and you can like them on Facebook here.