Tin Fish, Belgian Beers, and Anonymous Comments

Tin Fish is open for the season, and on sunny days, the long
lines are back at the Lake Calhoun Pavilion. These guys have the formula
figured out: start with very fresh ingredients, and then prepare them as simply
as possible. Prices seem to have gone up a bit since last year – as have
seafood prices everywhere – but they are still quite reasonable: you can get a
Mini Tin sandwich (two pieces of cod on a toasted bun) for $2.75 and a big
grilled shrimp taco for $4.95. The fried tin fish combo (four pieces of cod,
three shrimp, two scallops and six pieces of calamari) with fries and slaw has
gone up to $15.95 this year, but it is big enough to share. The little bits of
fried squid were nothing to write home about, but the cod was perfect – moist
and fresh – and the scallops had the succulent sweetness of the very best. And
the view of the lake is priceless.

There are still a few seats left for the Belgian beer
dinner, tomorrow (Tuesday) night at Barbette, 1600 W. Lake St., Minneapolis. It’s a benefit for KBEM Jazz 88,
but The Rake is co-hosting, and I’ll tag along and tell a story or two.

Belgian beers happen to be a passion of mine. Back in the
early 80s, when I had fantasies of opening my own micro-brewery, a friend and I
spent a week driving around the country in a Citroen deux chevaux trying every
local brew we could find. Last time I checked, there were around 300 different
brands, many of them tiny farmhouse operations, and nearly every brewery had
its own distinctively shaped glass.

Belgium is kind of a Galapagos island of brewing, where all
kinds of weird brewing styles survive that had gone virtually extinct elsewhere
on the planet. Many of those brewing styles have been rediscovered in the last
few years – beers brewed with fruit and herbs and spices, and wild yeasts.

I haven’t seen the list of beers that will be poured yet,
but chef Sarah Masters’ menu sounds promising. She’s using domestic
Belgian-style microbeers for cooking, in each course, including a starter of
1Chevagne goat cheese with pumpernickel toast points and Rejewvenator-
marinated fig, followed by pastry-wrapped garlic sausage with braised cabbage,
duo of mustards and side of greens tossed with a Biere de Miel vinaigrette;
Flat Earth Pale Ale-marinated eye of round roast with creamy polenta and
spinach, and a Chocolate tart
with raspberry-Brother Thelonious reduction as a grand finale.

Tickets are $50 benefiting Jazz88. To make online
reservations, CLICK HERE or call Kevin Barnes at (612) 668-1735.

Confidential to "Anonymous": (i.e., anybody who posts anonymous comments): Anonymous coments are welcome, and negative comments about restaurants (and about restaurant critics, for that matter) are okay, too, but it seems to me that if you are going to be harsh, and especially if you are going to single out an identifiable individual for criticism, you ought to sign your name. Or better yet, become a Rake Restaurant Rater, and post your critique there.