While in Uptown Minneapolis, it was suggested I take a visit to Muddy Waters Restaurant where according to the locals, they possess a higher ratio of tattoos and body modifications per employee than any other local restaurant. Not knowing what to expect, I was happy to try anything once..
Muddy Waters was once just a small coffee shop with a very large reputation. For more than 20 years, they supplied the hipsters, punks and Bohemians of Uptown Minneapolis with an endless supply of caffeine. They even endured a runaway BMW through the front window in 2001. But as anywhere during this century, the rising rent costs of a small coffee shop grew too much for Muddy Waters. But instead of throwing in the dish towel, they up and moved 5 blocks into what was once an old barn, and more recently a garage. After some major renovations, Muddy’s re-opened as a full-service restaurant and bar.
Being with family, my obliging mother agreed to try a whole bunch of appetizers with me to ensure we could really immerse ourselves in the Mud.
The menu could be described as American bistro and bar fare, together with a few international influences. The selections were simple but far from generic.
The first up were the fish tacos. These were something I was unfamiliar with and honestly, the dish that was set in front of me was not what I was expecting. The light tempura batter was not reminiscent of the deep-fried stereotype of American fried food and neither was the fresh taste. The generous handful of coriander (or cilantro for my American readers) and salsa that topped the dish, really gave it a fresh and healthy taste.
Then came the Buffalo wings. To my relief, these did not come from a Buffalo with wings. These were spicy but so tasty. Plus, it’s always great to get your hands (and face) covered in barbecue sauce every once in a while.
Next were the roasted golden beets. Similar to the more familiar red beetroot, these were a glowing golden-yellow and a lot less messy. They were really something else. The drizzling of vanilla hazelnut butter, yogurt and champagne vinaigrette made for an amazing accompaniment. The taste was similar to that of red beetroot but a little fresher and lighter. It lacked the deep earthy flavour that the red holds. I’m hoping to find these when I get back and try to prepare them myself.
We also had to partake in the fries. I was surprised when they came out that they still had the skin on. This was something I hadn’t expected. I’m sorry but American French fries with the skin on? I was delighted. They were seasoned to perfection and contained the exact amount of crunch you look for in a good fry.
Other dishes around the table included: the black bean hummus plate, Bender (a local beer label) braised pot roast, rock shrimp sub sandwich, and the fish of the day being sashimi style salmon. All of it looked amazing, and there was nothing left to pack up and take home at the end of the evening.
I can’t stop here without giving mention to their amazingly extensive beer list. This thing was phenomenal. Each had it’s own mildly amusing description to educate those of us not familiar with the local beers it sported. Being a foodie, I had to try the pumpkin beer. Leading up to Halloween, pumpkin was featuring in everything – including beverages. It had a mild sweet pumpkin aftertaste and heavy on the hops, but overall, it was quite a nice refreshing beer.
Overall, the reinvention of this local coffee shop is definitely worth a visit (or six).