how to get into travail kitchen

Hi friends! This post is ridiculously late (I first mentioned my trip here in January ) but I will blame it on INDIA. I reserve the right to use this excuse for my tardiness on most things until further notice.

So Travail. It was named one of America's best new restaurants by bon appetit magazine. And it's in Robbinsdale. For real. My good friend Robert and I went one Friday night in January to celebrate my birthday and his new job at Target.

Read any review on Yelp and you'll find out quickly that Travail is really hard to get into. They don't take reservations because it's a bunch of anti-establishment European-type dudes with scraggly beards and ponytails and tattoos that run the place. In other words, totally my vibe.

The dude in blue is one of the owners, I think. I was trying to discreetly take a picture
of him because I thought he was pretty cute. I'm a sucker for hippie-types.

When you go (which you need to) head straight to the back and ask the bartender to put your name on the chalkboard. We got there around 8 and it was decently crowded but we found two chairs in the waiting area. Order a bottle (yep, a bottle; you'll be there for a while) of wine and an appetizer- I'd go with the cheese plate. Now get ready to wait.

This was so good it almost made me cry. 

After quite a while (maybe 1.5 hours... I had amazing wine and fantastic cheese, who cared about time?!), we were seated at the bar right in front of the kitchen. Friends, if you can sit there, do it! All of the action is happening right in front of you and if you're super nice and charming, the chefs will chat with you and answer all your annoying food question

It was like dinner and a show in one!

Robert and I decided to do the tasting menu which is like twelve courses that you share. Because I'm not a food critic and will pretty much eat anything (seriously), I thought I'd let my Kodak Easy Share do the talking. If you'd like to complain about picture quality, please feel free to buy me a better camera. Warning: Stop reading now if you're the slightest bit hungry. It's about to get real. 

This was a sort of fruit gelatin shooter.
 Interesting. Good. 

Beet salad. When I saw this, I was thinking we'd need a pizza after.

Squid sliders or something like that. Seriously incredible. And different.

Meat plate. Salty and awesome.

Prosciutto wrapped polenta. Yes. Please.
The green on the plate is olive oil. I forget what the orange is (though not egg).

 There was herbed popcorn in the bottom of  the bowl
before they poured in this amazing mushroom soup.
Top five favorite things I've ever eaten.

I don't even remember what this was but I remember liking it.

Scallops with purple potatoes and other amazing things.

A white fish with squash puree. It was after this point that
 I started to go into a food coma. No lie. I was physically in pain.

I did not eat a bite of this but I'm pretty sure this dish was sweetbreads.

Pork. Looked great, didn't eat any of it. So so so full.

Dessert #1- Chocolate covered peanut butter, marshmallow-y things,
 and a macaroon that changed my life. (There's always room for dessert!)

Dessert #2- Make your own "dippin' dots."
Yep, that's liquid nitrogen and we're dropping stuff into it.

After we had made the stuff they scooped it out and onto this plate.
I "burnt" my tongue on the ice cream. Just call me eager.

Quick story: At some point during the night the chefs got a bottle of Jameson from a patron. Being that we were seated directly in front of them, I casually mentioned how Jameson was trouble in a bottle. Approximately thirty seconds later, Robert and I had shots in front of us. Friends, take it from me, excessive food consumption and shots of hard liquor do not mix. Please heed my advice unless you have a very large purse you'd like to vomit in. (For the record, there was no vomiting.)

I did my best to take pictures of everything that came our way but I'm no food blogger and I sort of felt like a weirdo sneaking pictures. I'm sure Robert got tired of hearing Wait, wait, I need a picture first! He's such a good friend! All that to say there was even more food that I didn't take pictures of. You will leave feeling well-fed.

In conclusion, this was one of the best meals that I've had in a very long time. If you can muster up an open mind and a lot of patience, head up to Travail. You won't be disappointed.


  1. I have heard awesome things about Travail...and now I MUST try it! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Taryn, you definitely need to go! Let me know what you think when you do!


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