Touted as one of Minnesota’s premier restaurants, The Bachelor Farmer has been serving up sensational yet simplistic cuisine since 2011. Their mission is to stay true to Minnesota’s delicious farm-to-table ingredients and offer food that “celebrates our state’s cultural heritage and draws inspiration from the surrounding region.”
I was graced with the opportunity to sample the works offered on a tasting menu for a friend’s special occasion. The hype (4.5-4.8 stars on various online sites) is definitely for good reason; every dish was composed of just a few ingredients, but brought outstanding flavors that gave the feeling of tasting familiar ingredients for the very first time. Though this place is rather inaccessible for college students because of the downtown location and prices, it is perfect for a special occasion. I hope to provide a rundown of what you can expect from The Bachelor Farmer through a variety of dishes I tried.
My first course: a salad of local lettuce, shaved hard goat’s milk cheese, walnuts and a light cider vinegar. This was honestly one of the most memorable flavor combinations of the whole night, right at the onset Everything married together strikingly well: the nutty cheese played off of the walnuts, whose slight bitterness mirrored the crisp bitterness of the salanova lettuce. The barely-sweet vinegar tamed the nuttiness and brought out the freshness of the greens.
The second course was two unique renditions of smørrebrød, Denmark’s version of an open-faced sandwich. The first was a white bread topped with fresh cow’s milk cheese, toasted seeds and honey. The cheese was the star of the bite. It tasted like it left the farm earlier that day and the honey and seeds complemented its delicate flavor outstandingly.
The second smørrebrød option was duck rillettes with grainy mustard and cornichons served on hearty, dark brown sourdough. Where the cheese was simple and elegant, the duck was anything but. I could only taste smoky, fatty boldness from the duck, bitterness and floral notes reminiscent of orange peel from the mustard and cornichons and sourness from the bread. Both smørrebrød options were well-tuned, complex and interesting, but not too overwhelming.
The main was a choice of poached hen eggs with oyster mushrooms, delicata squash and parmesan; Northern pike, caramelized fennel, fried capers, lemon and dill; or pork meatballs and braised pork leg with chives and fermented cabbage. I tried all three for the sake of The Mac Weekly. The hen eggs reminded me of a Korean BBQ-style omelette: delicious eggs with a hint of umami from the mushrooms and a reduced sauce. The pork two ways was equally captivating, with the soft, juicy leg beating out the meatball for its texture and unmarred pork flavor. The pike was my favorite. It is typically avoided on account of its bony filet, yet still is iconic to Minnesota. The fish was so delicate, cooked exquisitely with the lemon, dill, and butter complimenting perfectly. Dessert was a chocolate pot de creme with almond whipped creme. One might respond fearfully to a bowl of chocolate after an incredibly rich meal, but this pot du creme was tasty, subtle and did not suffocate its consumer.
The takeaway message from this tasting menu was delicate flavors. Each dish spoke of delicious ingredients that did not need extensive preparation to be good. The chefs at The Bachelor Farmer have mastered farm-to-table cuisine crafting and the restaurant is worthy of its reputation.
The Bachelor Farmer is located at 50 N 2nd Ave in Minneapolis.