Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: Dark Horse – We walked into this awesome open structure with dimmed globes of lights hanging from the high ceiling surrounded by brick walls accompanied by about 90 bottles of whiskey. International food is what we are about to consume over here at Dark Horse in Lowertown St. Paul, MN. #FOODPORN is what we are doing it for. Check out the details below along with the official segment on Mr. @tonyflizzle‘s show ‘On The Fly’ next week. Stay hungry my friends!
I, myself, started this evening of adventure-of-foods off with a breakfast stout recommended by my wonderful server, Annie. This beer really goes with the name of the place, loving the vibe as I sit next to the open kitchen window watching each dish get presented as I salivate. Okay, I’m hungry, are you ready for some scrumptious #FOODPORN? Coming right up…
Turkish Fig Balls – A vegan dish, as well as gluten free, surprisingly delicious. Black mission figs fried into ‘meat balls’, served on a slightly spiced ezme (a reduced tomato stew) and topped with a vegan coconut/cucumber sauce.
By all means, I am not the least bit vegan, but if I were, this would be my go to dish. I found it pleasantly tasteful, with a terrific tzatziki sauce. Visually appealing isn’t it?
Baozi – Steamed dumpling with braised pork belly, kimchi, yellow pepper and coconut emulsion, ponzu and sprinkled sesame and bulls blood micro beet greens.
Generous portions of pork belly completely fill these tender cooked dumplings. Combined with all of the elements on the plate make for an appetizer that is needed on every visit here. Do these in one-bite, like me, if you can.
Dark Horse Burger – Ground bacon & smoked Gouda patty, house made thousand island, muenster, pickle and onion. Basically it’s the Dark Horse version of the Big Mac, and a damn good one at that. Served on a house made pretzel bun, this seems to be a crowd favorite, as it is always seen up in the kitchen window. I love this burger.
JOJO’s – Yukon potatoes and garlic/onion/dill with house roasted garlic ranch. Now you know I couldn’t have had that burger without some fries. Well, I’ve been hearing this rumor around town that Dark Horse has the best Jojo’s around. Guess what? They do. Crisp, flavorful and served with a dipping sauce you’ll want bottled up to take home.
Ready for another drink, and I’m already seeing double.
Brooklyn – While the Manhattan gets all the love, we are all in favor of the scrappy underdog. This drink is still steeped in tradition, but does it its own way. Bulleit Rye Whiskey with dry vermouth, Luxardo maraschino cherry liqueur, and a dash of Angostura bitters. Good and strong, Brooklyn strong.
Sweet Corn Gnocchi – Corn and potato dumplings with veal ragu. I knew I brought Tony along for a reason, language lessons. Yes, I know how to pronounce YaNoKey! These were pan fried, adding a crisp outside with the unforgettable soft pillow inside. Great bed of sauce they laid on as well. Yummy stuff!
Devil In White – Corona beans (giant sweet runner beans), calabrian chile, smoked mozzarella and provolone cheese mix and smoked cream sauce.
Why of course Dark Horse does pizza, its international comfort food remember! They do pizza well. Great crust and ingredients with wow factors. Don’t skip out on the pizza. I may even have to get another style of theirs to take home.
Red Dragon Rice – Thai red curry, seasonal vegetables, cashews and black sesame sprinkled with lime wedge and cilantro, on top of jasmine rice with optional shrimp.
Definitely added that shrimp, what a good choice that was! Cannot tell you enough about the level of comfort food here, amazing options to choose from and this one is hitting the spot for the local season. It is bursting with rich flavors leaving your tummy warm with just the right spice level.
I had to order another one of their handcrafted cocktails since I’m almost finishing up this food adventure.
The Last Word – An homage to the prohibition era history of our capital city, this one is old school. Bombay Sapphire Gin shaken and served up with lime, Luxardo maraschino cherry liqueur, and green chartreuse. Clean, citrusy, and slightly herbaceous.
Reminds me of Christmas, word.
Hangar Steak – Cooked to temp (medium rare), seasonal roasted vegetable medley tossed in a vinegar rosemary pan sauce.
Perfect portions that were precut (the correct way), made this easy to eat and it was well above par. That buttery pan sauce was killer. What a nice delicate and chewable hangar steak this is.
Raspberry Jalapeño Cheesecake – with house vanilla bean whipped cream.
I’m not an ‘erry’ fan (anything ending with ‘erry’, at all), but this was a perfect serving for me with just the right amount of ‘erry.’ Not overbearing at all. Their house made whipped cream is oh-so-buttery. Can’t get enough of it!
Cast Iron Apple Pie – With sharp cheddar cheese and vanilla bean whipped cream.
This is different. If you know me, then you know that I think different is good. More comfort in every which way. The cheese addition is brilliant! That whipped cream again, yes!
After all of that comfort food, along with crafty cocktails, I need myself a pick-me-up. An espresso should do just that. Ending my night here at Dark Horse, going home to dream about the brunch menu I was just handed.
Two hours later…
The Dark Horse – Italian sausage, roasted wild mushrooms, roasted peppers and fresh herbs.
I told you I was going to bring home a pizza, and I did. I lean towards this one as my favorite over their Devil in White. The Italian sausage and roasted mushrooms did it for me. I just can’t stop eating it! Are you on your way to Dark Horse yet?
A couple of things you may or may not know about Dark Horse: The business partners also own Muddy Waters in Minneapolis. They serve brunch on the weekends, and although I have yet to attend, I am only hearing amazing things about the dishes as well as some of the portions. Also, they have an in-house baker by the name of Hans that has no experience what-so-ever, and you would never be able to tell from his wonderful creations such as the pretzel roll bun on the Dark Horse Burger and the desserts both mentioned above. Can’t wait to come and try what he serves up for the weekend brunch. Looking ahead; come March next year they will have a stunning patio with iron gates, more than a few dozen tap beers and fire pits to mingle around. Hurry up springtime!