Café Maude is a inviting bistro in the Armatage neighborhood of Minneapolis. The “Maude” is a tribute to Maude Armatage, a visionary civic leader, whose key contribution was to give to Minneapolis its wonderful park system. Down a lonely stretch of Penn Ave, this restaurant seems out of place initially but those thoughts soon recede when you enter this establishment. We had heard that this was the most exclusive table in Minneapolis and judging by the crowd at 10.30pm on a Friday night, we can assure you that getting a table here is no easy task.
The restaurant radiates romance with the espresso wood, mahogany floor, and deep red and orange hues from the walls and lights. The flickering votives and dim lighting add to the ambience. This restaurant also has live music and there was a jazz band playing when we went. It’s interesting to note that the age of the patrons is a little older than what you would find in some uptown and downtown restaurants. There is also a large bar and the restaurant was indeed a little loud, mostly from the patrons at the bar. Outdoor seating is available in summer months. The Brunch menu has a good variety of breakfast type items as well as sandwiches, soups, and salads.
5411 Penn Ave S
Category: American-Upscale, Mediterranean
Recommendation: Excellent. This neighborhood bistro serves great Mediterranean-inspired fare at very reasonable prices.
$$. Appetizers mostly under $10 and entrees under $15. Our dinner bill for two was $65 including tax and tip
Maude has an eclectic menu of cocktails – we tried (and liked) the Natasha, a blackberry syrup twist on the standard Cosmopolitan. The sweetness of the syrup paired up well with the tartness of the berries. There is a nice wine menu as well as some great brews from the Netherlands and Belgium. The menu itself is inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean, but the flavors are subtle and sometime hard to associate to a particular region. For appetizers, the Chorizo Hash (potatoes, chorizo, baby octopus, and harissa aioli) definitely had some great flavors and would work really well as a breakfast side. In fact, their Brunch menu also includes this dish. The Seared Ahi Tuna (with grilled bread, avocado, and citrus vinaigrette) was a unique preparation – the fish was top notch and the avocado and citrus added creamy and cool flavors with a sweet/sour finish. The house baguette served with herb butter was wonderful as well.
For entrees, we would recommend both the Frisee Flatbread as well as the Lamb Skewers. The Lamb Skewers (with Moroccan spices and garlic-mint yogurt) were exquisite – a mince of lamb with Middle-Eastern seasonings was rolled into an oval ball, skewered and grilled, and was served with a cool, refreshing yogurt sauce. We can’t say enough about this dish except that it truly captures the essence of the flavors from the region. The Frisee Flatbread (with duck confit, blue cheese, and balsamic) had a great mixture of sweet and pungent flavor, but we hoped that the chef would have cut down on the amount of blue cheese in this dish – a flavor that overpowered the nuances of the other ingredients. Note that the flatbread is more like a pita than a pizza crust.
On the Brunch menu, we really like the Crab Cake Sandwich. The crab meat portion is pretty generous and the accompanying remoulade was great.
Our server, Sasha, was wonderful and her recommendations were spot on. She was friendly and attentive and we were well taken care of. Overall, we had a wonderful dining experience and we’re delighted to see another good restaurant pop up in a quaint Minneapolis neighborhood.