The Carl Online


Restaurant Review: Fermentations by Alex Sciuto
October 4, 2008, 6:47 pm
Filed under: Food

Last night, I was blessed with the extremely good fortune of getting to travel to downtown Dundas to eat at Fermentations Wine Bar and Bistro, and it was the best meal I’ve had in Minnesota (that’s not saying much at all, I know.)

Getting to Fermentations was very easy and quick, and exposed just how little I’ve ever explored the greater-Northfield area. I don’t believe I’ve ever driven further south on highway 3 than Target and Cub Foods. To get to Fermentations, we had to double that southern distance, eventually taking a right. After winding through a few residential blocks, downtown Dundas revealed itself. Composed of a single half a street with two or three commercial-looking buildings, a parking lot, and a runned down stone ruin, downtown Dundas left a lot to be desired.

Notice the yellow sports car. Wealthy Dundans eat at Fermentations.

The restaurant is located in the right half of a small one-story repurposed building. While space was at a premium (I joked with my fellow reviewers, whom I had flown out from Manhattan, New York so that they could give their expert critique of the food, that the restaurant was tiny enough to be located in Midtown! We all laughed heartily at my wit.), the dining room was tastefully designed and furnished. Nothing to radical, just a combination of warm woods and modern fixtures.

But to the food. I started with the crab cakes appetizer. I was served five moderatlely large cakes circling a center of home-made tartar sauce. The portion was large enough to be a meal itself. I’m a big fan of crab cakes, and I try to have them everywhere I go. These tasted like the best of what I’ve had. They had the delicate texture of crab meat and weren’t too oily or too dry. But they really excelled in the seasoning. Very well balanced between the crab meat and the spices mixed with it. I wish I could have gotten an order to go.

The main course was delicious and very very fancy. I don’t too often go to really nice restaurants, but when I do get the chance, I remember them, and I’ll remember this plate of food. In the center were rice noodles (the menu called them Wassabe-infused rice noodles. I didn’t taste any spiciness from the noodles), surrounded by cuts of Marlin fish. Topping it all was very thinly sliced long ways and quickly cooked zucchini. All of this was on top of a layer of soysauce based sauce that had the feel of soysauce without the overbearing saltiness.

The Marlin was pan-seared for just a minute so that the outer layer of meat was cooked and the crust of sesame seeds were toasted while the majority of the center meat completely raw. I tasted very fishy, but very good. I was reminded of eating sushi, but all the flavors were much more muted and subdued. The soysauce not too salty. The fish, not as fishy.

The surprise of the night for me were the zucchini slices. As my mother knows very well, I don’t like zucchini, but I ate the entire portion I was served. The zucchini almost tasted like broad big noodles, and contrasted very well in texture to the softer rice noodles. I’m going to have to rethink my dislike of zucchini. It seems like everyone is just under cooking it! It sure seems to have a sweet spot like Asperagus: too raw and its crunchy and gross, too done and it’s chewy and soggy, but there’s a sweet spot inbetween.

All-in-all, a very enjoyable two hours spent eating at Fermentations. Maybe next time I’ll get wine! And thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Frischer for taking us there!

-Alex Sciuto

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4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hey, asshole:

Want to know a great way to get Minnesotans offended, and demonstrate your ignorance about a lot of high-quality dining across the state? It’s really easy: Basically, you start your article with a snide remark about Minnesota restaurants. Go back to the East Coast.

Comment by Equality

As the writer of this article, I apologize for the opening paragraph. I didn’t mean for the parenthetical reference to be snide at Minnesota, but self-deprecating at my poor eating choices, basically limited to college cafeteria’s, cheap sandwich places, and Chipotle’s Burrito. Also to clarify, I am from St. Louis Missouri, and I really really love Minnesota!

Comment by Alex

It’s true that there is, in fact, a lot of good food to be found in Minnesota. It’s also true that you, Equality, should probably take the stick out. What if, in an act of ironical-karmic repentance, Alex volunteered to eat (to attempt to eat, let’s say) said stick, once it’s removed from the butt of the indignant commentator?

Comment by gregoryhunter

AAAhhh, those food photographs! I’d like to see some dessert.

Comment by mothersciuto




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