The Most Fun I've Ever Had Dining Out!

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that enjoys cooking.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

Steve Kroll

Wine Guy
Mar 29, 2011
Twin Cities, Minnesota
There's a restaurant in the Minneapolis area called Travail Kitchen & Amusements, which has been around for a number of years, and is very popular here. It's even been written up in the New York Times. In all the years I've lived here, I had never once gone. At first, it was absurdly busy and they didn't take reservations, so you would sit and wait for hours to get in. I hate places like that.

Recently, they went to a ticketing system. All the meals are prix fixe and you buy tickets in advance, like going to the theater. Which basically describes this place in a nutshell: food as theater.

Ex-Mrs. K decided that she wanted to go there and offered to buy a ticket for me as a birthday gift. So last night we went with another couple. I have to say it was honestly the most entertaining dinner I've ever experienced.

The gist is you get about 25 courses of food. When I say "course," it's actually a series of small plates of food. Just a bite or two of everything. I was worried about getting enough to eat, but after 3 hours of bits and bites, we all waddled out of the restaurant completely stuffed.

The experience was reminiscent of going to church: stand up, sit down, do this, move over to this bar. Some of the highlights included servers parading a fresh salmon around the tables (after which it was properly dressed), being fed pork cheeks from hooks suspended over the table, witnessing the crushing of lobster shells in a medieval torture device to make broth, sticking my clenched hand into a box and having food prepared on the back of it, and having biscuits tossed at me from several feet away.

The best part - since everything was paid up front, there was no waiting for the check afterwards. We all just got up, put our coats on, and walked out the door.

Here is the menu we were served:
  • Apple - Compressed Apple, Thyme Sugar, Apple Gel
  • Gougere - Parsnip, Escargot, Garlic, Lemon
  • Clam - Clam Chowder, Chive, Crunchy Potato
  • Meat - Chicken Terrine, Duck Sausage, Winter Sausage, Pickles
  • Meat Hooks - Guanciale
  • Green "Tea" - Celery Broth, Blood Sausage, Apple
  • Soup - Delicata Squash, Smoked Ham Hock, Herbs, Brown Butter, Custard
  • Ice - Coconut Chartreuse
  • Gnocchi - Potato Broth, Turffle, Crispy Chicken Skin
  • Chicken Thigh, Bulgar Wheat, Herbs, Chicken Soup Goop
  • Bisque - Lobster Crush, Shrimp, Broche
  • Agnolotti - Chicken Liver, Tasmanian Honey, Black Truffle, Rutabaga
  • Foie Gras - Smoked Foie, Apricot, Citrus, Salmon Two Ways, Aguachile, Chorizo
  • Pork Belly - Fig Char Siu, Pickled Black Walnut
  • Salmon Belly - Chicken Dashi, Herbs, Shiitake, Wasabi
  • Fries - Cheesy Bearnaise
  • NY Strip - Beef Fat Vinaigrette, Red Wine Reduction, Potato Leek Gratin, Roasted Garlic Confit
  • Slushie - Passion Fruit
  • Lamb - Cauliflower, Coconut, Diwag Curry
  • Egg Custard - Butterscotch, Lemon Curd
  • Danish - Pineapple Cream Cheese
  • Truffle - Fig, Hazelnut
  • Tart - Coconut Caramel, Apricot, Cocoa Nib
  • Olive Oil Orange Cake - Huckleberry, Orange, Almond, Blond Chocolate, Yogurt
  • Take Home - Cookie

BEST FUN I've ever had in a restaurant, and the total cost per person is $75+tip. Fully worth the price of admission. If you happen to be in the Minneapolis area anytime soon, I highly recommend it.

I'll post some photos below.
The "Beat Box." You put your hand inside and they plate food on it.


The kitchen.


Smoker device at the each table

This sounds like an absolute blast! I've read about this place before, and my brother and his family live in Minneapolis! On the list!
Oh my gosh, fun! The description of the event and your pics are wonderful! I'm drooling over the food. $75 plus tips is a fantastic deal!

And how nice that you and the ex-Mrs. K are on friendly terms and enjoying evenings out together now and then. It took my ex and I a little while, but we got there, too. :)
Awesome. Thank you for the pictures too!
The experience was reminiscent of going to church: stand up, sit down, do this, move over to this bar.
I think your narrative reminds me of stand up, sit down, kneel, shake hands, peace be with you, who farted, let's go to the Knights of Columbus Hall for drinks.

Seems like awesome fun, good for you!
Wow, Steve. That sounds and looks amazing. What a great evening you had.

Hmmmm, I just had a thought. There's a pretty adventurous chef who lives in my neighborhood. I could see him doing something like this. Do you mind if I share the menu and some of your pix with him?

Latest posts

Top Bottom