Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Eat Street Buddha | Minneapolis Restaurant Photography

On June 7, 2013 I received an email from the Director of Advertising and Marketing of Hospitality Management, a company I have worked with in the past. It read:

“...next month we will need to do a photo shoot with Food, Drinks & of the place for the Buddha Lounge (2550 Nicolet Ave, MPLS). Place is super neat and you will find lots of cool shots. It is a new place; Asian inspired restaurant with a fresh oyster bar, sushi, fresh fish, and Asian composition plates.” 

…And so began my work with Eat Street Buddha Kitchen and Lounge, a new Asian inspired restaurant that opened up on September 30th, 2013.

This project was very exciting and very different than what I have been used to!  It was fascinating to see the transformation of the dull, dingy space (which was the former Azia restaurant on the corner of 26th and Nicollet) into something so beautiful and trendy. It was even more exciting to watch the executive chefs create their outstanding menu and be able to sample all the dishes after we photographed each plate! Best gig benefit ever!

Their menu is unbelievable! From specialty cocktails, small plates, sushi rolls, salads, entrees…all the way to brunch!  Oh, did I mention that I got to sample all these items?

My Favorites Rolls:
Orange Crush – crab, tempura salmon, asparagus, topped with unagi, avocado & sweet sauce 

Red Dragon – Shrimp tempura, spicy crab, avocado, topped with lemon slices, spicy tuna, sweet and spicy sauce

My Favorite Sashimi:
Seared Albacore Tataki – albacore sashimi, house-made tataki sauce, lime, serrano chili, ginger and soy sauce 

Yellowtail Jalapeno Sashimi – yellowtail sashimi, jalapeno, cilantro, rayu-ponzu and siracha-dots

My Favorite Small Plates:
Sushi Grade Big Eye Tuna Guacamole – ripe avocado, scallion, yuzu citrus, cilantro, thia basil and an egg roll bowl

Buddha Belly Cranberry Wontons – whipped cream cheese, cranberry, red curry, green onion and sweet thai chili sauce

My Favorite Salad:
Buddha Salad - mixed greens, napa cabbage, pickled carrots, candied walnuts, glazed chicken, crunchy wontons and honey wasabi dressing

My Favorite Wok Items:
Mongolian Beef Tenderloin - snap peas, water chestnut, bamboo shoots, crispy fingerling potato, shiitake mushrooms, green onion and hoisin glaze 

Braised Short Rib Curry - slow braised tender short ribs, edamame, pickled carrot, singapore noodles, onion, pea tendril and yellow coconut curry

My Favorite Entrees:
Pan Seared Scallops - wok fried fingerling potatoes, shaved brussel sprouts, thin sliced garlic clove and togarashi beurre blanc 

Grilled Lamb Loin - domestic lamb, root vegetable goat cheese, hash grilled asparagus, braised pork belly and hoisin butter

My Favorite Brunch Item:
Banana Cream Pie French Toast - thick cut cinnamon bread soaked in grand marnier egg wash, warm vanilla crème anglaise syrup, fresh bananas and toasted maple graham cracker crumbs

Montreal Steak Benedict - toasted english muffin, thick cut grilled tenderloin medallions, creamy boursin cheese, soft poached eggs, montreal hollandaise and choice of house made kimchi, yellow curry hash browns, or pineapple fried rice

It was great to finally meek Mike Tupa, who is Buddha’s owner. He owns several other restaurants including, six Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon, which I photographed in the past for his company.  He has a wonderful staff beneath him who I was able to get to know personally.

The staff of Buddha is fabulous! It was fun to watch them create the exquisite food in the kitchen and have fun doing it! PS – Grant LOVES to do dishes. While I have proof of this in my photos, I promised him I would not post it!

Executive Chef – Grant Halsne
Formally from Stella’s Fish Café, Wolfgang Puck, and St. Paul Grill

Sushi Chef – Tony Gambucci
Formally from Rock N Roll Sushi in California and Stella’s Fish Café

Jhade Smith was behind the creation of the trendy and beautiful cocktail menu. 
She handmade syrups and purees for her “on the rocks” and “served up” drinks.

My Favorite Drinks:
Hello Kitty – Prickly pear infused pisco sour, Bacardi pineapple, rock coconut rum cocktail meringue

Imperial Carrot – Fresh pressed carrot juice, tyku coconut sake, stoli vanilla, nocello liqueur and a splash of pineapple and cream

....and many other good choices! 

A behind the scenes note: We had to reschedule the cocktail menu shoot from the original scheduled date because while Jhade was packing up her car with all the flavored vodkas, gastriques and purees, the box of ingredients slipped and crashed all over her driveway.

As if sampling the menu during my photo sessions was not enough, I was invited to a VIP dinner for their soft opening. “You’re exclusively invited to experience the newest restaurant opening in Minneapolis!” WOW – what a great invite. Sure, I would love to come have a free dinner of some of the best food ever!  Here is the invite I received, which features my photos!

My husband, his parents and I headed down on Friday, September 27th for a wonderful meal! We agreed to each get a different entree so we could share!

Our Menu From the VIP Dinner
Spice Pork Chow Fun - wide rice noodles, house ground spicy pork, pickled carrot, scallion, spring peas, cilantro and wok fired glaze
Pepper Crusted Big Eye - sliced rare tuna, wasabi infused potato puree and fresh blueberry ponzu sauce
Miso Glazed Halibut - fresh alaskan halibut, caramelized miso glaze, warm orange glazed noodles and grilled asparagus
Shellfish Curry - diver scallop, jumbo prawns, mussels, lobster, baby bok choy, shiitake mushrooms and panang coconut curry sauce

This experience has been amazing, thanks to my friend, Velinda, for giving me the opportunity. I look forward to working with them again!

Make sure you visit them soon and order something from above.
Eat Street Buddha Kitchen and Lounge
2550 Nicollet Av. S., Minneapolis, MN
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EatStreetBuddha

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