Team Erick Harcey and Ben Hiza, both most recently of Nicollet Island Inn, opened the gastropub Victory 44 (think relaxed bar-type atmosphere combined with high quality food at a reasonable price) on May 1st in the Victory neighborhood. The restaurant, while small, has an open layout with two rooms of low and high topped tables and an outdoor patio.
The menu features dishes that will satisfy the most casual bar lover to the foodie fanatic with bar snacks like Scotch eggs, calamari and The Ploughmans Plate (cheese and charcuterie) to dinners that range from the more casual Reuben sandwich and “The Perfect Burger” offerings to the sirloin and skate wing entrees.
Favorites were the Scotch eggs and half chicken entrée. Scotch eggs, while not usually my first choice for sampling, were perfection with their combination of a bright flavorful yolk, bold sausage and crisply fried exterior served with a smear of mustard. The roasted half chicken entrée was perfectly seasoned and moist, which contrasts nicely with the crispy skin. Served with a salad of warm beets, Amish blue cheese and pancetta, this dish could not have gotten any better.
Also sampled were the dates wrapped in bacon (Devils on a Horseback) and the crispy pork belly entree. While the date appetizer is usually a favorite, this version’s bacon lacked the crisp saltiness that balances the sweetness of the dates and accompanying brandy glaze. The pork belly entrée, served over a delightful salad of carrots, haricot verts and peas with a tarragon-garlic pistou (sauce), was good but lacked consistency in the tenderness and temperature of the pork.