Demi serves only a tasting menu that concentrates on local ingredients and rare/special ingredients from around the world. They are open Wed. to Sun. by reservation only. They offer wines by the bottle or have 2 levels of wine pairings as well as an alcohol-free option. They charge a 21% hospitality charge on each check which is to provide a living wage for all team members. The 20 seat dining area is a large U-shaped walnut counter around a center prep area and a cooking area at the top of the ‘U’. Lights are lowered on diners but bright in the center. Art is on the walls and music is in the background. Chef/Owner Gavin Kaysen opened it in Feb. 2019. Pacing and portion control are both very good and all the staff were friendly and helpful. It is worth a visit but overall my impression was that the food had more design than flavor.
As we had a guest and the flavors of the upcoming meal were unknown we ordered 3 different wines to mix and match with the meal. That worked out well. They offer 3 types of pairings and this was a link to the wines offered that evening.
The meal started with cup of Chicken Chai consommé with pumpkin seed milk froth. Unfortunately I did not get a photo but it was aromatic and a good start for the meal. Lots of spices – cinnamon, anise, clove – worked with the chicken to provide a good depth of flavor.
The first 3 bites were served together. A steamed sweet potato was paired with lardo, nectarine, pineapple, pickled okra, and lemon balm. It was tart and a good combination but the texture was odd with a very solid bottom.
Osetra caviar was on top of a corn mochi cake with dashi creme fraiche in between and lovage on top. The cake was slightly gooey but the caviar was excellent, so who could dislike this one.
Chicken Skin held purple sweet potato, kohlrabi greens and pickled burdock. The skin made a thick crisp element to hold the other ingredients which had some bits of barbecue and lots of tart from the pickled elements. Overall it was a nice balance of textures and flavors.
Mackerel Escabeche was mixed with grilled cucumber and fermented plum dusted with bronze and then dashi coulis was poured after serving. Some fennel fronds decorated the plate as well as fennel oil. Mackerel has a fairly strong flavor but this was well moderated by the other elements. It was also fairly tender even with the skin on. It was actually good with the red wine.
Driftless trout was plated with cauliflower, habanada peppers, coriander, capers, with a lemongrass tumeric sauce. The trout was from Minnesota seared and then breaded with a rye bread coating. On the plate were carrots, very thin cauliflower slices and lemongrass threads with the sauce in between. The fish was cooked perfectly with an incredibly crisp coating and silky underside. The vegetables were all good. I liked this one.
Au bon Canard Foie Gras Terrine was plated with matsutake mushroom, summer green beans, bell pepper, lemon gel and a pine sauce alongside a piece of crispy artisinal bread. The foie gras was from a Minnesota producer and was nicely rich and spreadable on the crispy bread. It was also well mixed with the various other elements.
Eggplant Parmesan Doppio was filled with roasted eggplant alongside fried eggplant, taleggio and all with tomato sauce. The stuffed pasta had a good texture and was aided by the grittiness of the side cheese. Some good olives added more flavors. It was good.
Squab was plated with rhubarb apple puree, maitake, wild rice panisse and Swiss chard. The roasted squab worked with the apple vinegar and hibiscus sauce. Wild rice was crisped and added texture. It was okay.
A Bar and Ranch Farms (Texas) beef hanger was served with sauce bordelaise, purple broccolini, fresno chile and chimichurri herbs. Some Oregon red wine was made into a puree with the vegetables. The sauces helped the chewy meat.
Pre-dessert was Strawberry chia sorbet plated with currant tomato, yuzu coulis, cucumber and mint. The faux strawberry was accented by the flavor of the compressed cucumber. Good.
Fig and Earl Grey tea cake was with fig sorbet, milk chocolate ganache, bergamot curd and marcona almonds and topped with an almond twill. This one had lots of textures and flavors that blended well for a good overall affect.
Mignardises were a salted tonka bean caramel, sorghum and cherry financier, passion fruit gel and chocolate shortbread cookie. Of course, the caramel was my favorite.
To end the meal on a bit of fun everyone received a small pan of warm rice crispy treats. Apparently this was one the chef’s favorites growing up. It was a good ending.
At the end of the meal everyone is presented with a copy of the menu and any remaining bill.