Shhh! Bali opened last Thursday on Eat Street – in the old Safari restaurant location at 1410 Nicollet – but don’t tell anybody. It’s supposed to be a “soft” opening, to give the staff a chance to work out the kinks before the crowds and the critics show up.
Bali, 1410 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, 612-354-3302.
Carol and I dropped in late Saturday night, and though we only tried a few dishes, I was very impressed with what I tasted. We started with the gado-gado, tofu and veggies with a peanut sauce ($8), as an appetizer. It’s actually on the menu as a vegetarian main course, but our server obliged us with a half portion. The plate also includes crispy shrimp chips and a quartered hard-boiled egg, which went well with the spicy sauce.
I chose the beef rendang ($13.75) as my entree – chunks of beef simmered in a blend of spices to the point of absolute tenderness, with the flavors of the seasonings – (maybe ginger, coriander, and turmeric?) – cooked into the meat until they completely permeated it, tossed together with fried potatoes. Carol opted for the Sayur Asam Kelapa soup ($13 with shrimp; $10 with chicken), an Indonesian cousin of Thailand’s tom ka gai – a hot and sour soup with lemongrass and coconut milk.
The menu on Saturday night is more limited than the one on their website (www.balimpls.com), but it still offers a number of dishes I would like to try, including nasi goreng, the traditional Indonesian fried rice dish ($7 with chicken, $9 with shrimp).
Bali has a full liquor license, but so far, only the beer has arrived – Summit, Guinness, and Heineken (all $4), and PBR ($3). The rest of the booze is expected next week.
I liked the energy of the place – the owners are young and enthusiastic, the sound track is upbeat, and the crowd on Saturday – friends of the owners, I’d guess – were all of the above.