Khâluna is not for the faint of palate. Chef Ann Ahmed’s homage to her Laotian roots showcases bold flavors — spicy (think curry) and earthy (think tamarind) — with ingredients such as galadium, tomato jeow and tapioca pearls. Aromas pervade the bright, balmy space, and beverage director Trish Gavin taps into that with unflinchingly ambrosial offerings: lots of riesling, “which expresses itself so well with this food,” four glass-pour vermouths and libations concocted “not for the sake of a cocktail but with the mission that it’s going to taste great with the food.” Her favorite pairing, Bucatini Talay (pasta with shrimp, squid, scallops, tobiko, Thai basil and tom yum ragout) with Kreuznacher Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Spätlese Riesling. That certainly dovetails with the restaurant’s name: the Laotian word for “please.”
4000 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55409
Bill Ward is the wine columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and his work has appeared in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, the Columbia Journalism Review and other print and web publications. He won a James Beard Award in 2004 for a series on Italian regional cuisine.
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