Coming from Eric Harcey – chef and owner of critically acclaimed Victory 44 – the newest addition to his restaurant roster was met with some pretty high expectations when it opened in December. After all, Harcey’s legacy is built on pushing the boundaries when it comes to fine dining.
Harcey’s goal for Upton 43? To reawaken the elegant flavors found in familiar comfort foods. And for him, comfort food goes back to his roots. Literally.
Harcey’s Swedish-born grandparents – who were both culinary enthusiasts and restaurant owners – inspired his affinity for Nordic fare at a young age. Raised on Swedish staples like lutefisk, meatballs and Swedish pancakes, Harcey looks to the foods of his childhood – and his grandmother’s recipe book – as inspiration for Upton 43’s menu.
“I want to cook how I feel,” Harcey says. “This is about my roots, and about being an extension of who I am. I want to cook what I love to eat.”
The usual suspects like lingonberry and lutefisk can be found on the menu, but lesser-known ingredients, like “ymerdrys” (Danish rye crumble), are also used.
“We want the place to be warm, but not the typical dark wood warm that everyone uses. Keeping the wood walls natural brings a warmth even when you brighten the place up with lighter colors,” Harcey tells Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine.
University Avenue’s Willie Willette Works‘ custom-built furniture outfits Upton 43’s main dining area, and the restaurant’s lounge furniture is supplied by East Lake Street’s Forage Modern Workshop. The Whitewashed birch tables seat 70, the open kitchen features a wood-burning grill, the food comes on pottery-style plates and boards, and the restaurant’s bones – light-colored high ceilings and exposed beams – exude modern Scandinavia.
Upton 43’s execution, presentation and innovative menu make it a worthy addition to the Twin Cities’ dining scene.
Images Courtesy of Upton Forty-Three