While Travail Kitchen and Amusements in Robbinsdale, MN might appear unassuming from the outside, it is anything but that. And honestly my review of Travail won’t do it justice, so really this is just me sharing an amazing 8 course dinner I enjoyed with a friend last week.
In a real, published review in The Star Tribune, Travail was described as: “Contemporary bells and whistles are the name of the game, with flavors and textures manipulated through a playful parade of powders, foams, gelatins, tapioca pearls and scents, then packaged into 15 or so options that range from small plates to meal-sized entrees.” We were seriously blown away by each plate put in front of us. So let’s get to the food. Side note: I didn’t write down everything on each dish and they don’t have a menu so all of this is from my memory. Forgive me if I miss a few components of the dishes.
Our first course was their version of “Fish and Chips” which included pickled cauliflower, salt and vinegar ruffle chips, homemade tartar sauce and a salmon and potato croquette.
Next up: This was mango, lime, and jalapeno flavored and the “yolk” looking thing in the shot glass literally burst in my mouth. It was one of the strangest, but most delicious things I’ve ever tasted.
This next dish was pan-seared scallops, which had an amazing crust on them with a lime mascarpone, candied pear, and cauliflower.
The next dish was fried chicken. What, you don’t think this looks like fried chicken? Okay, well it was de-constructed fried chicken. On the left there was fried chicken skin, in the middle chicken thigh, and on the right chicken breast, which they poured gravy over table-side.
The next thing served to us was definitely a great example of the inventiveness and mind-blowing creations that Travail serves. This was foie gras and truffle powder topped with bacon bits and a cashew. I’ll say it again: mind blowing.
The pasta course was agnolotti pasta, which is filled pasta, served with spring vegetables like asparagus and sugar peas, a couple of different sauces (a green, thinner sauce and then a thicker one) and a perfectly poached egg.
An adorable little caramelized onion tart came next. Nothing spectacular but I do luuuurve me some caramelized onions.
The last course was their version of “Meat and Potatoes.” Starting on the bottom left, we have braised short rib, potato gratin, caramelized brussels sprouts, beer cheese with popcorn, and 32-day house cured beef tenderloin.
Dessert was perfectly portioned, as I always need something sweet but was getting pretty full at this point. They served some sort of rice pudding with merlot ice cream. I’m a huge fan of rice pudding, so this hit the spot.
Two unpictured courses: cream of mushroom soup which was rich and delightful, and tuna tartare which was absolutely incredible. Needless to say, I had quite a few utensils by the end of the night.
Obviously I would recommend Travail to anyone looking for a fun, adventurous, and delicious meal. Sadly, Travail is closing in just a couple of weeks (April 6), then multiplying into three new restaurants in September: a pizza and small plates restaurant, a Travail-like restaurant, and a sandwich and cocktail joint. The anticipation to go again is going to kill me!