Kitchen World Class Cuisine
The Dakota proudly supports locally owned, sustainably operated farms. Our meat is all natural, no added hormones or antibiotics. We source our seafood from responsible and well-managed operators. Our coffee is organic certified, shade grown and fair trade–purchased by the roaster from small-farmer cooperatives.
The Dakota stands out as one of the few music venues in the US that boasts both musical and culinary talent with creative, consistent, adventurous and more traditional dining. Guests may have come for the music, but they will come back for the food once they’ve tried the culinary jewels envisioned and crafted by the chefs at the Dakota. Co-owner Lowell Pickett says, “I think this food is incredible….it is some of the best food in the country.”
Chef Derik Moran, and pastry chef Katie Elsing lead with skill and confidence, and each night flows like a theater call – busy all at once as driven by each show. The servers guide guests through the menu to make the evening more enjoyable and servers are mindful of the music diners came to hear. Servers educate themselves at a tasting session with samples of food, notes and chef explanations of each item prior to a menu change, so servers are skilled guides. Their knowledge is best taken advantage of by guests who arrive an hour prior to show time for their dining experience.
Derik displays his background as a visual artist in his plate designs and with art on the menu (and his tattoos). Derik grew up in a food-producing family that raised produce, made cheese, baked bread and caught and processed fish. Starting his career in the kitchen at age 11 Derik became executive chef at Tagalong Golf Club and Resort in Wisconsin at age 18 and he later worked at Relais and Chateau at Canoe Bay. Working locally at Porter and Frye’s and Nick and Eddie’s before the Dakota, Derik has plenty of experience. But experience alone does not account for Derik’s creativity – his inventive food and his collaboration as a co-chef demonstrate not only that he’s comfortable and practiced as a chef, but that he loves and respects food. Derik notes that some of the dishes like the blue cheese cured ribeye are intended to be composed in a specific way to meet each of the chefs’ visions and to please the guests.
Katie professes she chose pastry and baking due to her love of precision and the relation to chemistry. Like Derik, Katie also entered the profession as a youngster, working as a teen in local delis. But she took her involvement with food to another level by attending Le Cordon Bleu in Mendota Heights. Katie creates desserts that whimsically deconstruct the favorites – blackberry paper garnishes the Nemesis Cake made from 65% chocolate and the Cherry Crisp with a cherry vanilla marmalade gives us an inventive take on a classic. Katie professes she knew that working at the Dakota would be a challenge, but she was excited, and explains the adrenaline rush of a perfect service. Having a perfect night through the rush just makes her want to come back the next day and do it again – “it is so worth it.”
Though the entire menu is available nightly, foodie nights feature specials from the chefs, no cover for music from the Celebrate Minnesota Music series, and $10.00 wine bottle specials. These nights are when the Dakota really shines as a community restaurant. The menu and your dinner guests can be enjoyed without distraction on your own time frame. Come to the Dakota for the food, and experience the passion driving the chefs. The love of cuisine exuding from the kitchen is infectious. Their passionate creations will bring you back for more.