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A menu rebirth at Bardo

Chef and owner Remy Pettus inside Bardo, the Northeast Minneapolis restaurant where he’s constantly evolving and reinventing the menu

As Remy Pettus places the plate of chevre agnolotti with sweet corn, bacon and English peas on the table, the chef and owner of Bardo explains this is the fifth iteration of the pasta dish, an evolution that illustrates his overall approach to running his restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis. 

“Neighborhood restaurants need to be constantly reinventing themselves,” says Pettus, who hosted a media dinner on the one-year anniversary of Bardo to highlight the launch of a new menu and more interactive service style. “We’re creating a new culinary direction from year one to year two.”

Bardo, which opened in August 2017 in the former Rachel’s space on East Hennepin Avenue, takes its name from a Tibetan word that translates as the state between death and rebirth. Pettus says over the past year he’s built some trust in the neighborhood and so can now take some risks and incorporate what he calls a “more adventurous technique.”

That includes the tableside presentation of the pork belly with black currant barbecue, over which Pettus spoons a nitro hazelnut powder in a billowing haze and comments that if you take a bite right away, “You’ll breathe smoke out your nose like a dragon.” It’s a way to add an entertainment element to the experience all while presenting a well-composed, creative dish, he notes.

A dish of Wild Acres pheasant, macerated blackberries and wild rice pot au choux dough is another new menu offering, as is the Tabbouleh-style mixed grain and rice bowl with house-grown cucamelons, onions and Black Garlic Chips— which Pettus points out is also an entirely vegan and gluten-free dish.

Bardo also launched a five-course tasting dinner for $55, a showcase of experimental dishes being developed for the regular menu as a way to give customers a “peek behind the curtain into the creative process,” says Pettus.

“It’s a more approachable use of a tasting menu,” he continues. “I’m trying to get the stuffiness out of tasting menus.”

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