Third Bird Sings a Sweet Song

The Third Bird is perched precariously across from Minneapolis’ Loring Park in the space previously occupied by Cafe Maude and Nick and Eddies. Opened by Kim Bartmann in 2014, the restaurant has been a success. Recently anointed executive head chef, Brian Hauke, has taken over the kitchen – incorporating quality ingredients with classical cooking techniques. Modern Midwest had the chance to visit the Third Bird and were treated to an exquisite menu paired with delectable cocktails. Check it out!




Hang Glider | Gin, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, lemon

In this variation of a Paper Plane cocktail, the Third Bird substitutes gin for the typical bourbon backing, creating a deliciously clean-tasting cocktail. Aperol — Campari’s lighter cousin, featuring sweet citrus accents and a bitter finish — balances nicely with the herbal core of the syrupy Amaro Nonino. Garnished with a lemon peel, the Hang Glider is the perfect summer aperitivo to dampen the palate before a meal.



Hay Fever | House-made chamomile cordial, soda, cava

Originally, chamomile’s anti-inflammatory properties were said to have curbed the itchy, watery-eyed symptoms of allergic rhinitis — more commonly known as hay fever. Paired with cava, the quality dry sparkling wine produced in the Catalonia region of Spain, the drink has a deceptively supple mouthfeel followed by a sweet tang created from the carbonation of the cava. Garnished with a large lemon peel stripe, the cocktail shimmers during the waning summer heat.



Paisley Palace | Gin, blackberry house-made syrup, lemon, egg white

A play on the gin fizz, the aptly named Paisley Palace exudes violet from the blackberry house-made syrup, as if condensation from a Purple Rain dribbled slowly into a shallow-vaulted cocktail glass. Offset by the acidic undertones of a dash of lemon, the cocktail is wonderfully topped with a frothy head of egg white and served in a cocktail glass.



Working Title | Brandy, bourbon, cherry Heering, Cocchi di Torino, Angostura bitters, bittercube cherry bark vanilla bitters, slash of orange peel

This darkly infused cherry cocktail is a ménage of bitters — potent, aromatic and redolent. of cherry, cocoa, vanilla. The bitters’ properties temper the acidity of citrus ingredients in an effort to settle the stomach. The drink’s rigidity comes from the stiff pairing of brandy and bourbon, allowing the distilled wine to stabilize the harsh barrel-aged bourbon. A drink for before a meal and after.




Five-spice pork belly, herb salad, crisp lotus root

Vertically splayed across the plate, the boneless cut of fatty meat is encased in a puffy and crackling crispy skin that houses a tender and juicy interior. The scored pork belly exterior allows varied spices to permeate the blistering skin and penetrate the center of the cut for a fuller flavor. Spokes of dry lotus root cover an herb salad, as if a bike was abandoned against the bottom step of a stoop only to have the frame stolen, leaving two sets of tires.



Olive oil-poached salmon, ramp salsa

Often cooked in aromatic oil, poached salmon is difficult to execute unless aided by the precision of a sous vide cooker. The fish was cooked to perfection: a delectable peeling fillet that separates easily with the slight push of a fork. A wonderful concentration of ramp onions, mandolined vegetables and yellow-tipped flowers punctuated the natural flavors covering the rich salmon.



Grain salad, sunflower sprouts, baby kale, cucumber, celery, green goddess

A hulking entanglement of greens, the soaked sunflower sprouts add a meatier taste than a regular sprout variety. Shards of baby kale protrude from underneath the stacked stems, and shaved cucumbers garnish the massed grains perched on a nest of thick green goddess dressing. All together, the salad was substantially heavy and crisp. Celery did little to lighten the load.



Charred beets, baby kale, créme fraîche, cumin honey, pistachio

Peeking out from shrouds of baby kale, the charred beats are a stark contrast against the pale complexion of the plate. Lightly seared under high heat, the natural sugars of the beets quickly achieve a pleasantly burnt, crunchy crust. Drizzled with crunchy pistachios, cumin honey and paired with créme fraîche, the dish is harmonious in its charred, creamy, tangy dissonance.


~ No picture due to consumption ~

Fresh ricotta, blueberry compote, oat crumble

Carefully layered like a Bridget Riley painting, the textured grain of the ricotta provided a fluffy whey cushion for calculated dollops of coagulated syrupy compote. Not too sweet, the blueberry set the perfect foil for the richness of the creamy ricotta. This dessert is served in a large mason jar and provided the perfect conclusion to a wonderful meal.



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