Who knew? Not I, and it’s my job.
One of the very best chefs in the metro has been hiding in plain sight for the past three years. Oh, not by choice, simply by chance — and I propose to change that.
His credential-studded bio is too long to list, but a few highlights: Minnesota native Tim Fischer first started cooking at Nisswa’s Grandview Lodge. Fischer pursued a degree at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, then held top posts at fabled kitchens ranging from San Antonio’s Mansion del Rio to Virginia’s Inn at Little Washington to The Little Nell in Aspen, taking time off in 2012 to labor as a professional muskie fisherman.
That’s par for this apostle of all that’s fresh from Minnesota’s shores, farms and forests. He hunts morels and gardens at home and on the rooftop where he cooks. And he sleuths the best from nearby foragers, farmers, ranchers, fishermen, beekeepers — you name it — combining these culinary artifacts in unique new fashions.
Where to find him? At Cosmos, out of sight and out of mind (but not for long) on the fourth floor of Loews Hotel at the epicenter of the Warehouse District. It’s an old-school setting, but the staffers — both front and back of the house — are anything but.
Best option, for those who can spare the time and money: the five-course tasting menu, over which I swooned. But it changes nightly, so I returned to write about the regular list.
Both lift off with several complimentary amuses, like a taste of bone marrow and caramelized onions implanted in a mini creampuff. Then, a super-sweet roasted fig with venison baton licked by creamy mascarpone.
Other starters (most $8–$12) range from steelhead crudo to walleye cake, plus our choices: a lick-your-dish composition incorporating sweet scallops dusted with black trumpet mushroom powder cozying up to more earthy sautéed trumpets breathing a whiskey-smoke truffle demiglace, all settled on a bright-flavored celery-root puree — a dialogue of yin and yang and heaven.
Next, a more familiar and just as satisfying risotto employing chef-foraged mushrooms along with truffle powder and plenty of savory cheese to hold the grains together.
We skipped the soups and salads ($6–$9) — our penance for inhaling all the four varieties of house-baked bread — and proceeded to mains ($22–$28, plus the beyond-our-budget NY strip and lamb at $42).
Our walleye, sweet and moist, came paired with mustard powder for kick and nettle pesto with its fresh “green” boost from this chef-gone-crazy, thank goodness. (The actual menu mentions sweet-corn succotash, potato croquette, orange beurre blanc and chive oil.) What the heck! Both versions are original, yet admirably suited, not nuts.
Next, the peony-pink duck breast with — what? Beet puree. That’s a new pairing, and a keeper. Also figs, duck jus and romesco sauce. Or choose salmon with mushroom-like huitlacoche, root vegetable hash and maple gastrique. (See what I mean?) Or the beef tenderloin with mashed potatoes, roasted carrots and truffle demi.
Should you crave more casual fare, the Relevé Fare section of the list ($9–$29) includes a sirloin burger and foie gras hotdog.
Then there’s dessert ($9–$10). Do not go home without it.
The camera-ready composition of lemon bundt cake fingers, poached rhubarb, huckleberry compote and Greek yogurt ice cream explodes with taste, temperature and texture face-offs that succeed.
Even better: coconut rice pudding with passion fruit-yuzo curd, caramelized oranges and a pistachio wafer — creamy, sweet and savory all at once. Perfect finale for a perfect evening.
601 N. 1st Ave.