June 25, 2011

Piccolo: Italian Word for Small

There are restaurants in town that make me love Minneapolis. Piccolo is one of them.

There aren’t many places in town where you can get Scrambled Eggs with Pickled Pigs Feet (and love it) or a deep fried fig with your chicken. There also aren’t many places in town where you can eat four courses in and walk out not unbuttoning your pants. But you can do all three when you go to Piccolo.

Piccolo does the whole small plates thing in a different way than most small plates places. Piccolo doesn’t do small plates so that you can share. Piccolo does small plates that you can polish off yourself, perfect 4-ish bite plates that allow you to taste something awesome and interesting, not get sick of it, and move on to something even better.

I read an article about the place after it first opened where they talked about how the first few bites of a dish always taste the best. It’s true. So, Piccolo created dishes sized to address this, dishes sized so that no one gets sick of what they’re eating. Although, I have to say, I’m not sure I’d get sick of more bites of the Scrambled Eggs with Pickled Pigs Feet.

The menu is a one-sided list of small plates, that at the top start out lighter and work their way down to richer. The Piccolo staff describes the menu as a way to put together your own tasting menu. Love.

Everything I’ve ever had there has been delicious, but I always tell people to look at the menu before they go. It changes frequently, and it’s never a huge menu, so it’s always best to make sure they have things you like to eat on any given visit. I have found that I have loved some visits better than others based on what happens to be on the menu.

The highlights last week when I went with my dining buds L & L were the Scrambled Eggs with Pickled Pigs Feet (have I said they were amazing yet?) and the chicken. I was a little scared of the pickled pigs feet, I won’t lie. I hadn’t had pickled pigs feet before. But I’ve heard this dish continually praised (I think Andrew Zimmern himself ordered two plates of it once). It lived up to the hype, let’s just say that. The eggs were perfectly, softly scrambled. The pigs feet added a savory touch. The parmesan added a nice salty hit. And the light drizzle of truffle butter over the top made the whole thing even more ridiculously decadent.

I’m not generally a chicken fanatic like my lovely husband, but this chicken was amazing. I think if he had been there and had it, he would have died and gone to heaven. And then ordered a second plate of it in his next life. The chicken was flavorful and moist and set on top of some creamy polenta. It came with a fried fig on the side. Lovely. A successfully interesting chicken dish. That’s a feat, in my opinion.

For my first plate, I had the crab salad, which was my least favorite plate that night. It was certainly respectable, but I don’t know, it didn’t blow my mind like most of their plates usually do. I found the crab salad to be sort of wet, heavy on the mayo. And I didn’t love the (albeit pretty) drops of Japanese mayo on the plate.

I ended the meal with the little butter cake served with coconut cream and banana ice cream. I’m a sucker for anything banana, anything coconut, and anything cake. So I’m convinced this dessert was created with me in mind. Was tasty for sure, although after the eggs and chicken, it had a tough act to follow.

The Piccolo space is really cute, perfect for a special dinner out. Lots of windows and lots of light that make your rose wine glisten in its pure pretty pinkness.

Reason #387 why I love this city, and eating in it.

Piccolo on Urbanspoon

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