Chef Gavin Kaysen is a personal hero of husband’s so ever since Mara Restaurant and Bar opened he’s been talking about going. However, because of all the things we had to do for our wedding in October it unfortunately kept getting pushed to the backburner so when I decided to plan a special experience for him over the holidays, reservations at Mara were the obvious choice. He was thrilled and his excitement didn’t even damper when the day of the reservations came and Minnesota was in the middle of a blizzard warning that he had to drive through haha.
Baba Ghanoush: Served with seasonal crudite
If you’re like me, you’ve heard of “Baba Ghanoush,” but had absolutely no idea what it was, Don’t say I never did anything for you 😉
A Levantine appetizer consisting of chopped roasted eggplant, olive oil, lemon juice, various seasonings, and tahini. The eggplant is traditionally baked or broiled over an open flame before peeling, so that the pulp is soft and has a smoky tasteWikipedia
The “seasonal crudite” included some radishes, mini carrots, and I believe lettuce leaves soaked in lemon. I can’t be 100% sure, but they definitely had a lemon taste. Overall, I liked the flavoring, but liked it better with the radishes than the leaves.
Lamb Tartare: Ras El Hanout, “A La Grecque” Vegetables, Lemon Omani, Red Lentil Cracker
Husband is obsessed with Lamb so it was no surprise to me when he ordered the Lamb tartare. His verdict: it was one of the best things he’s ever eaten to the point where he debated at the end of the meal ordering more to-go. Seriously.
Bucatini: Lobster, Roasted Tomato, Lovage Breadcrumbs, Roe Butter, Espelette, Basil
There were a lot of things that I was deciding between – I strongly considered the Filet Mignon and the Chermoula Spiced Chicken but in the end I decided to go with the Bucatini, because there’s never been a time I regretted getting the lobster! It was so damn good it was hard to hold back from licking the bowl.
Braised Lamb Shank: Isphahan, Dried Apricots, Mint Gremolata, Puy Lentils
Re:Husband’s obsession with lamb, it should be of no surprise that he double downed on it and got the Braised Lamb Shank. He was absolutely over the moon about his choice and really enjoyed the lentils.
MADHaus: Elderberry, Currant, Hyssop, Bergamot Gin
I absolutely loved this cocktail. I fully expected to have one and be done, but I ended up having three. It was the perfect amount of sweet and strong where the sweetness wasn’t overpowering, but the alcohol didn’t take over either. The gin was super subtle, to the point where husband even liked it and he hates gin.
Old Fashioned: Hazelnut, Pistachio, Fig, Calvados, Keepers Heart Irish Bourbon
There’s never an Old Fashioned that husband doesn’t like. While this wasn’t a traditional old fashioned, his review is that it was light and delicious.
Rose: Ruby Chocolate Sponge Cake, Roasted Strawberry, Vanilla Yogurt, Rose Veil and Rose Strawberry Consommé
The presentation of this dessert was beautiful – the gold flakes, the “rose veil,” the poured strawberry cosumme – but unfortunately it wasn’t my favorite. To me, the rose taste was a little too overpowering to the point where it felt like I was eating perfume, but Husband LOVED it, so it’s definitely about personal choice here.
Being in the Four Seasons Hotel we knew it would be an upscale experience, but the service was by far the best I’ve ever had. When we arrived, they weren’t ready to seat us yet so they checked our coats and sat us at a table in the bar where we were able to order some drinks while we waited. Our bar server was super friendly and fast, just like our dinner server ended up being.
The dining area had a clear line of sight to the kitchen, which is always cool to see them work at that level, the light fixtures were beautiful, and the decor was moody and definitely had a mediterranean vibe.
We cannot wait to go back for brunch. 5 stars.
Mara Restaurant and Bar
Four Seasons Hotel
245 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55401
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