This week’s Bite of the Week is five for the price of one. If you go to St. Paul’s Tongue in Cheek restaurant, you can order a collection of five amuse-bouches for $13, and trek across a miniature landscape of intense flavors and textures. When they hit the table, the fun begins—each of these little dishes has its own point of view and distinctive look. In no particular order (because how would you even begin to organize or rank these crazy things?), here’s a tour of the dishes:
East Fried Pride is a lovely spin on pork belly, the meat tender and full-flavored, and the bark crispy without being burnt or tough. The accompanying salsa and chopped peanuts add a bit of flair without getting in the way of the main meaty attraction of the dish.
It’s called Bacon and Egg, but the “egg” is a sphere of intensely creamy avocado that so dominates the dish that the accompanying hot sauce and bacon are mere bit players by comparison. That’s okay, though—the avocado is insanely creamy and a delight to eat.
Goldi Lox is a blend of crispy fried shallots, tender bits of gravlax and horseradish. As is appropriate for an amuse bouche, the horseradish comes across loud and clear, a blast of sinus-clearing intensity that anchors the dish.
The Watermelon Squeeze is a compressed watermelon piece—possibly the best way to enjoy watermelon, because it so intensifies and concentrates the fruit’s natural flavor, finished with a bit of feta, salt, and cilantro. This might be the simplest of the five dishes, but it’s no less effective because of that.
Last—and maybe best—is The Blues. A single composed bite, this dish starts with an intense blast of natural basil flavor and finishes with a peanut and concentrated blueberry sphere situation that’s akin to a sweet-and-savory blueberry cobbler, with salt and sugar contributing equally to the overall flavor. It’s intense, it’s strange, and it’s wonderful.
The Dish: Flight of Teasers, $13
The Place: Tongue in Cheek, 989 Payne Avenue, St. Paul, MN
The Reason: It’s a roller coaster of bold flavors and textures
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