Ode to a Tale of Fare and Amrita

Cuisine et vin, bon appétit!
Scallops and shrimp from Patrick’s Bakery & Café accompanied by a “Double T” chardonnay.

Maple Grove shines brightly when it comes to epicurean delights and divine wines. With a bevy of choices, we’ve selected a tantalizing trio: from a happening steakhouse to a true American grill and a delightful French café. Each offers something exceptional in food and wine pairings. Wine connoisseurs or grape neophytes will applaud. Azure skies and sunny days mean that spring is right around the corner. Time with family, friends or that special someone is genuinely sublime this time of year.

Scallops and Shrimp

Patrick’s Bakery & Café
A standout in The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, Patrick’s Bakery & Café’s food philosophy is straightforward: “A great meal is an emotional experience.” The menu is bold and diverse. Trying to choose just one item was no easy feat. There are viandes (“meat” in English), poisson (fish), and the patou burgers are 100 percent Angus beef, served on a freshly made baguette.

But it was the scallops and shrimp that sparked our spring fancy. A copious amount of seafood is sautéed in a garlic mushroom cream sauce and served with a sweet potato puree.

The wine list is equally daring. For the pièce de résistance, try a glorious, rich glass of Trefethen “Double T” chardonnay from Napa Valley. The bouquet highlights a sophisticated balance of apple, pineapple, lemon cream and floral to please the palate.

Open since 2002, voted top bakery in Maple Grove, and recipient of numerous awards, it’s no wonder that suburbanites hurry to Patrick’s in pursuit of an impeccable match. Scallops and shrimp $23; chardonnay $8 per glass or $32 per bottle.

Cedar Plank Salmon

Redstone American Grill
Next up is a Maple Grove favorite that is both adventurous and uncompromising when it comes to unique flavors. The menu is inspired by executive chef Kevin Pazandak, who is known for his tantalizing seasonal recipes. With so many delectable dishes to choose from, we narrowed down the selection to the cedar plank salmon.

This 8- to 9-oz. salmon filet is slow-cooked in a wood fired grill on a cedar plank and brushed with lemon garlic oil at 500 degrees, which infuses the dish with a smoky cedar flavor. After only 8 to 10 minutes, the result is moist, tender, flaky goodness. The roasted red potatoes, grilled asparagus and lemon garlic aioli complement this dish.

The wine list showcases a well-rounded selection that includes Champagne, pinot noir, merlot and chardonnay, to name a few. For fish foodies who fancy a glass of nectar, best served at 49 to 55 degrees, the La Crème chardonnay from Sonoma is a “perfect blend of creaminess and complexity,” says general manager Rena Jarvis. “If you’re unsure of what to select, our staff is well versed and can steer you into trying something new, and you can sample anything.” Who knew that trying something new could be both flavorful and fun?

Prepare to dine with gusto. Whether it’s brunch, lunch or dinner, you can dress casually. Entrée $31, chardonnay $13 per glass or $50 per bottle.

Bone-in Filet, Surf-n-Turf

Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse
For those who simply delight in food for food’s sake or are looking for something a smidge on the decadent side, this is where steak, seafood and the valleys of Willamette and Napa meet. Since the doors first opened, executive chef Miguel Urrutia has infused his joie de vivre and world travels into this suburban favorite. Guests clamor to fill the sumptuous booths, dine on mouthwatering fare, and partake in the splendid selection of wines.

Diners take pleasure in the hand-picked and hand-cut 14 oz. bone-in filet cooked to perfection—medium rare is recommended, coupled with a poached five oz. Maine lobster tail with sautéed spinach and mushrooms, finished off with a fresh shallot butter. “Come in to celebrate, entertain or just plain show off,” says chef Urrutia. “Leave the cooking to us and we’ll make you look good.”

Wines by the glass or bottle are plenty. “The Archery Summit pinot noir is a masterfully blended bouquet of black currant pastilles, orange rind and berries,” says general manger Felipe Navarro. “The light berry tone, served at the ambient temperature of the restaurant, pairs nicely with the rich, flavorful duo.” If your tastes lean more to a white wine, the renowned Cakebread chardonnay embodies what we have come to expect from the Napa Valley. The buttery wine adds that little something extra to the overall essence of the dish.

It’s true that hard work has its rewards. Urrutia and his team deliver a high-quality experience. While the price might be a little dear, the filet and lobster is one of the most popular dishes. Served with seasonal vegetables. Entrée $83.95, pinot noir $19 per glass, $68 per bottle; chardonnay $90 per bottle.

(The bone-in filet, surf-n-turf at Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse is the best of two meaty choices and well paired with the Archery Summit pinot noir; Photo by Joel Schnell)