Mooo? More like MOOOO!
Red Cow is rapidly expanding its pasture. Wildly successful on 50th and France, another cow's been spotted on Cathedral Hill with plans to let another graze up Northeast way. But does quantity cut into quality?
It certainly doesn't seem that way.
Cow's menu-makers aren't afraid of a little on-patty innovation, offering such concoctions as a bison patty with figs and goat cheese, a lamb slab with mint jelly, and the Minnesota-mandatory something with peanut butter. It's a menu I suggest you read over twice before placing -- we've swung and missed here before, but we dug in the right spots last week and struck gold.
The Basics: In the greatest cosmic prank, Red Cow was named Best Bird Burger by Mpls/St. Paul Magazine last year. You can find all of their information on their website.
Whereas Edina Cow is laid out with its bar and dining room more distinctly defined, Cathedral Cow wraps the dining room around the bar. Booths along the walls are situated between tall wooden dividers, similar to what you might picture a barn full of cows stationed in ... if they were penned up like horses are.
Do they get penned up like horses do? I've never had cows.
The team mentality you see in Edina is repeated across the river, from the uniform loose-hanging ties to every tender filling your water. Everyone seems to take ownership of every consumer. If that's just part of the franchise's DNA, it's a good little sequence to pass on.
The cheese curds were slid out first, flaky-shelled but squishy inside. They were far from standard, a curd others ought to aspire to. Paired with the berry ketchup, they were unstoppable.
Let me correct that: my wife and I were unstoppable. We nearly ate the paper they came in.
Our plan: Play it safe. Restaurants ought to be measured by how well they can deliver a basic burger, anyhow. Buuut then, I saw the 60/40 (60 percent beef, 40 percent bacon, who cares what else is on it), buuut then, I saw the Royale -- an offering with brie, arugula, pork belly, and tomato jam on something called a baker's wife bun.
In the end, because I'm incapable of simple decisions, I consulted with the bartender and banked on Royale.
My wife waffled for an eternity (assuming an eternity last two or three minutes) before jumping off the highest cliff and ordering the breakfast burger -- the one with peanut butter.
Peanut butter burgers, to this point, had been the menu item equivalent of Urban Outfitters: we wouldn't dare even be seen in one, let alone consume. Hearing her ask for this had me checking the landscape for serpents.
To her credit, she picked a good place for this: Red Cow's breakfast burger was just named the second-best peanut butter brick in the area by City Pages. The curds were long gone when the main courses came out.
The tomato jam was more like "slightly squished 'mato slices," but the Royale was a delightful taste anchor in sum. Believe me when I say it's a heavy cheeseburger, one of the heaviest I've eaten in memory. Finish this and you're just about done for the day.
My wife's breakfast burger progressed, bite by bite, from "really weird" to "weird, but in a good way" to "good, but in a weird way" to "I'm really enjoying this" to an empty food boat and bloated groans. I tried it, with neutral reaction. There's a texture and taste to peanut butter I don't think I could ever acclimate to having with beef ... but my wife used to say that, too.
We milled around at the bar as our meals got settled, then got up and into the car. Shifting positions after one-sitting Royale can be quite incommodious, let me warn you of that.
Red Cow is flipping mighty fine burgers in their laboratories, but they won't all be for you. One is all it takes, though, and I can just about promise you'll fine yours on the menu. St. Paul is right to be ecstatic for Cow's arrival, and Northeast ought to be dribbling their bibs in anticipation. Hell, if they can make a peanut butter burger palatable to at least one of us, that's saying enough by itself.
If I ever see her in Urban Outfitters, though, I swear, those separation papers will sign themselves.