New Zealand Mussels – Steamed with roasted garlic and zinfandel served with toasted ciabatta bread 13
Truffle Fries – Truffle Salt, Grana Padano, Fine Herb, Gouda Cheese Fondue 9
SALADS & SOUPS
Organic Garden Greens, Carrot, Red Onion, Cucumber, Sunflower Sprout, Red Wine Vinaigrette 5
Chicken Caesar Salad
Hearts of Romaine, CURRENT Crouton, Grana Padano 12
Sub Shrimp 3 or Steak 5
Garden Grees, Seasonal Vegetable, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Grilled Chikcen, Rach Dressing 12
Sub Shrimp 3 or Steak 5
Housemade Seafood Chowder $5
Butternut Squash Bisque– With granny smith apples $5
Roasted Chicken, arborio rice, tomato, baby organic spinach, finished with grana padano 20
Linguini & Mushroom
Linguini, Grilled Wild Mushroom, Shallot, Spinach, Fresh Herbs, Black River Gorgonzola,
White Wine Butter Sauce 16
With Shrimp 19 or With Chicken 18
Braised Peppercorn Beef Short Rib
Served with Skinny Beans, Local Potatoes, Sauce Natural 23
10 OZ Sirloin
Mashed Potato, skinny beans, truffle butter 29
Two butter poached lobster tails (4-5oz) with buttermilk bacon mashed potatoes,
grilled asparagus, and saffron drawn butter 38
Surf and Turf
6oz, Grilled Filet and butter poached lobster tail (4-5oz) with buttermilk
mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and saffron butter 40
Prime Rib of Beef
Garlic mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetable, cream horseradish and au jus 27 (queen) 30 (king)
SANDWICHES & BURGERS Served With Natural Cut Fries. Substitute Fruit, Side Salad, or Spicy Edamame $1
Try our Gluten Free Bun for $1 more…
Grilled Salmon Club
Toasted ciabatta layered with spinach, tomato, bacon and grilled salmon, dressed with caper mustard aioli 14
Herb Chicken + Ciabatta
Local Apple, Brie Cheese, Organic Baby Spinach, Aioli 12
Wild Mushroom Grilled Cheese
Gruyere, gilled mushrooms and spinach on parmesam crusted texas toast with tomato-basil sauce 12
A couple weeks back, I was able to accompany Joy Summers to a media opening of a new restaurant in Afton, Current. Brothers Dan and Dave Jarvis had renovated an elderly establishment in their river town compound to house a modern establishment with fusion fare…and they invited us to sample their wares.
I don’t think what we did could ever be so delicately called “sampling.” “Smorgasbord” would be a bit more appropriate.
Contrary to what many folks in the Cities might think, Afton isn’t terribly far away. Take a scenic route and it’s even better. I’m one of those people who goes. I do. I drive. I explore. This was a drop in the bucket for travel time, but the scenery and setting made it feel worlds apart from much of the metro area. But, if you’re not the type to hop in your vehicle and try a new restaurant a half an hour away, feel free to make a daytrip out of it or an overnight. There are river opportunities as well as shopping and recreational trails surrounding Afton. It wouldn’t be a wasted venture.
Dan and Dave toured us through the new space, Current, as well as over to the Afton House Inn and the other new kid on the block, Swirl. We poked and snooped and eventually made it back to sit and enjoy what Chef Marc Paavola had in store for us…which ended up being the entire menu. We shared some appetizers but then each ordered our own entrees. The choices were tough…until I spied the Monte Cristo. It would be mine. All mine. (Except for the sharing I had to do with Joy.)
So, over plenty of great discussion and even better food, we enjoyed what Current has to offer…which is quite an array.
I appreciate the branding, look, and feel of the new establishment. I think it’s working to set itself apart from both its predecessor and what people might think of when they think of a Minnesota river town.
The vegetarian spring roll was a nice surprise in Afton. It was crisp and well-executed.
Sushi plate of spring rolls, wild rice spicy crab rolls, and tuna pokes on seaweed salad.
Eichten’s Gouda, Ciabatta, Apple, Grass Fed Steak Tips. This was some of the best-executed fondue I’ve experienced–it was gooey enough to not congeal or require an external heat source, but still cheesy and flavorful.
Braised Pork Tacos served street cart style, with Salsa Verde, Poblano, Corn Tortillas, Queso Fresco.
Shrimp Crostini sauteed with Garlic, Lemon, White Wine, Basil Cream.
Sweet Potato Fries with Cinnamon Maple Sprinkle. Lip-smacking.
Truffle Fries with Truffle Salt, Grana Padano, Fine Herb. Perfect. Deep. Hedonistic.
Edamame made with Ginger, Chili Sambal, Ponzu Sauce, Sake, Honey. Current offers to substitute edamame for fries in the Kid Menu meals, which I think is brilliant. And, tasty. It’s delectable.
Chicken, Apple, and Brie Sandwich with Spinach, Red Onion, Aioli on Ciabatta. The bite I had was excellently balanced in flavor and textures. Nice sandwich.
Grilled Salmon and Spinach Salad with Sliced Strawberry, Red Onion, Feta, Toasted Almond, Balsamic Vinaigrette.
I believe this is the Grape and Brie Flatbread Pizza made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lavender, Stillwater Honey, Rosemary. This is one I’d like to try the next time I dine at Current.
Turkey Burger with Shaved Apple, Lingonberry, Wild Rice Mayonnaise, Sunflower Sprouts. The accompanying flavors were nice, but I’d suggest the guys head up to Bacio or The Craftsman to taste their turkey burger competition.
$6 Lunch! Choose From: Hot Muffuletta, Monte Cristo, Turkey Bruschetta, or Best Vegetarian Sandwich Ever! This was the Turkey Bruschetta made with Mozzarella, Leaf Lettuce, Tomato Salsa, Balsamic, on Ciabatta.
Another $6 Lunch: This one is the Best Vegetarian Sandwich Ever!
This was my lunch. It’s the Monte Cristo–battered and cooked on the griddle instead of deep-fried. Smoked Ham, Cave Aged Gruyere, Lingonberry Jam on Pullman Bread. It was a bit soft to handle, but that’s why we have napkins. Look at the oozing cheese. The Lingonberry Jam made my Scandinavian heart sing. Yes, friends. This is, indeed, food porn.
Spicy Chicken Drops smothered in Sriracha Cream, with Fried Leeks, Garden Greens, Sesame Seed. These were a sleeper hit. I just didn’t expect them to pack such a flavor wallop as they did. They’re repeaters, for sure.
Finally, after sampling and smacking and sharing and swiping, we were done with lunch. Thinking it was time to roll out of Afton, I was surprised when dessert was mentioned.
Like an athlete between heats, I figured maybe I just needed to stretch a little. Walk it off some. Get out into the daylight and stave off the food coma. So, most everyone else departed while Joy and I wandered around outside with Dave and Dan. We talked a little marketing shop, they pointed out the marina water levels and just what was already underwater, and mentioned that they’ve got three boats that offer food service on the water, too. What interesting people.
Then, came dessert.
Chocolate Truffles. Decadent.
Seasonal Fruit Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream, in this case it’s Blueberry. I appreciated the cake topping as opposed to the crumble-top cobblers. It was a heartier dessert.
A revamped Banana Split with Spumoni Ice Cream, Pineapple, Cherry, Chocolate, Wafer Cookie.
Black Russian Bundt Cake served with Hazelnut Brittle, Kaluha, Creme Anglaise. It was still warm and so very good. We got the story out of Chef Marc Paavola and the recipe comes from his mom’s treasure trove. (I wonder if he’s related to my Great Aunt Rosie Paavola and, if so, whether or not I can have the recipe by virtue of being related. Hmm.)
Key Lime Tartlet served with Fresh Berries and Chantilly Cream. Note the oven-dried strawberries. Julia Child would approve.
Best of luck to Dave, Dan, Marc, and the rest of the crew at Current.
See you soon.
Here’s a coupon for my readers, too: 50% Off Current Coupon If you’d like to try Current for 50% off, just print it and bring it in with you when you get your own Monte Cristo. You know you want to.
As the St. Croix river waters rise, the new restaurant by the Afton House Inn has a name that is more apt. CURRENT is also serving more up-to-date food options than standard bar fare.
Chef Marc Paavola
Highlights were the appetizers. The Eichten’s cheese fondue is $12, served with charred bread, Granny Smith apple slices, and hunks of tender-cooked, grass-fed beef, and finished with a drizzle of truffle oil.
A $7 side of edamame tossed in a sweet, spicy ponzu sauce spiked with garlic chili paste can be eaten by the bowlful or subbed in for French fries with the burgers and sandwiches.
Churro-flavored sweet potato fries
The fries, by the way, were delicious, drizzled with white truffle oil and Parmesan cheese. The sweet potato fries were also a hit, dusted in cinnamon sugar and just a hint of salt, they tasted almost like fried Mexican churros.
The sandwiches were full of bright flavors, like chicken, brie, and apple served on ciabatta and a bakery will soon be providing the Current with gluten-free bread. Decidedly less than healthy was their delicious take on a Monte Cristo for $12. It’s egg-battered but then cooked on the flat-top rather than deep fried. Custard-like and dipped in the accompanying lingonberry sauce, it’s a brunch classic done better.
The only item I would avoid ordering is the turkey burger, $12. A pre-formed dry, flavorless patty was a disappointment, when clearly the kitchen is capable of making something better.
The wine, beer and specialty cocktails make for a great happy hour spot for anyone working in the eastern suburbs. Dave is a trained sommelier and offers wine, as well as beer by the taste or glass, allowing guests to create their own flights. Guests also have the option of heading to the attached Swirl wine shop and picking out a bottle to drink at Current for a modest $3 corkage fee.
Desserts are sophisticated twists on childhood favorites, like a Lollapalooza inspired banana split with spumoni ice cream $6. The decadent, dark chocolate Black Russian bundt cake is a recipe straight from chef Marc’s mom. A classic fudgy cake soaked in Kahlua, drizzled with creme anglaise and flanked by toffee crunchy hazelnut brittle, $6, it was enough to make a traditional dessert-skipper request the recipe. They assured us it would be on the website soon.
Mom knows best: bundt cakes rule
More is on the docket for CURRENT. The owners also soon plan to install a wine-dispensing system using argon gas, similar to the one used at Scusi, which will allow them to have multiple bottles available by the glass while keeping them fresh for weeks. A patio spot on the water, a cool glass of cucumber-spiked water, and an array of affordable snacking options should make for a very bright summer. CURRENT’s Grand Opening celebration is April 30 from 1 to 5p.m.
CURRENT Restaurant 3291 St. Croix Trail S., Afton
651.436.8883 (The website www.currentrestaurant.com is now under construction but is expected to be running before the week is out.)
Published April 15, 2011, 10:59 AM
Business staying ‘Current’ in Afton
After 45 years as a downtown Afton staple, the Catfish Saloon & Café has gotten a facelift and a new name. Current, located adjacent to the Afton House, reopened for business at the end of March after being closed for a month and a half for a total remodeling.
Brothers Dan, left, and Dave Jarvis have given a facelift and new name to the former Catfish Saloon & Café in Afton. It’s now Current — in name, ambiance and menu. Photos by Randy Hanson
After 45 years as a downtown Afton staple, the Catfish Saloon & Café has gotten a facelift and a new name.
Dave and Dan Jarvis, sons of Afton House Inn owners Gordy and Kathy Jarvis, have taken over the restaurant from their parents and made the Catfish much more, well, current.
“It was sort of bittersweet, but it was needed,” Dave Jarvis said of the change. “We wanted to bring a little energy to the community — something fresh.”
Current, located adjacent to the Afton House, reopened for business at the end of March after being closed for a month and a half for a total remodeling.
Builder and designer Bruce Lenzen of Hudson gutted the space to the studs and created a restaurant that Jarvis describes as “casual, but cool.”
“It was really important to us to make something that had a lot of energy and was alive,” he said. “We wanted to have some unique elements. We didn’t want the same old run-of-the-mill, what everyone else is doing.”
A waterfall greets customers at the door and the restrooms feature unique catch basins for the faucet water. The windows have been enlarged to bring more light into the room, enhancing the rich wood trim and furnishings.
Jarvis said they wanted to create an environment where people will feel comfortable in jeans (or shorts and flip-flops in the summer), but also classy enough that they won’t feel out of place if they’re dressed up.
The restaurant has standard low tables, high-top tables, a bar, a fireplace and an outdoor patio.
“What we’re creating down here is what people have been asking for,” Jarvis said. “We want a place with some life, we want some energy, we want a cool place to go with really good food. “
The restaurant’s tagline is “Alive. Fresh. Inspired.”
On the menu
Dan Jarvis said Current’s head chef, Marc Paavola, has created an almost entirely new menu for the restaurant — featuring fresh, organic and locally grown ingredients.
About half the items are gluten-free, and are identified as such on the menu.
“Our culinary team has a passion for scratch cooking, using only the best ingredients,” Jarvis said. “We’re making sauces and dressings and everything from scratch versus pre-buying.”
Some of the items on Current’s menu include: sushi, fondue, burgers, flatbread pizza, grilled Ahi tuna, Tahitian barbecued ribs and New York strip steak.
Entrees range in price from $14 to $23.
But you can also get a soup and sandwich lunch for $6 — or a small plate, salad, flatbread, sandwich or burger at a price in between the lunch special and an entrée.
In a commitment to offering healthy options, fruit or edamame (deliciously seasoned soybeans) can be substituted for fries with the sandwiches.
French fry lovers will want to try the truffle or sweet potato fries.
Dave Jarvis said few of the menu items are prepared in the deep fryer, but are broiled, grilled, baked and sauteed.
He said Current will be supporting a lot of locally owned and operated farms.
“That’s sort of a fundamental principal behind our menu planning – free range products, natural, organic, local,” he said. “There’s so much crap out there that I don’t want to feed my own kids, so why would I want anything different for a customer.”
At the bar
In addition to the food menu, Current’s bar menu will be unique.
“We wanted to have fun with the beer and wine selection,” Dave Jarvis said.
In terms of the beer list, Jarvis said they offer a lot of local craft beers and micro-brews such as Lift Bridge beer from Stillwater, Rush River ale from River Falls and Brau Bros. Scotch ales.
Jarvis said Current serves wines ranging from $5 for a glass of the LaTerre Chardonnay all the way to $18 for a glass of the Brumello Di Montalcino.
Current uses a unique wine tap system in which argon gas is circulated in order to keep the wines fresher longer.
“If you go to a restaurant, I don’t care what restaurant it is, you have no idea how long that bottle has been open, and how it’s tasting,” he said. “This system allows us to keep wine fresh for weeks.”
Gordy and Kathy Jarvis have been operating the Afton House Inn and its companion businesses since 1976.
The Afton House, which opened in 1867, is the oldest hotel in continuous operation in Minnesota. It now offers 25 bed and breakfast style rooms, most with Jacuzzi tubs and some with balconies overlooking the St. Croix River.
The inn also offers fine dining, including table-side cooking, in the Wheel Room and Pennington Room.
In addition, the Jarvises operate Afton-Hudson Cruise Lines, including the 350-passenger Grand Duchess boat based in Hudson. Their other recent ventures are the Afton Bean coffee cafe and Swirl Wine Bar, also located in the Afton House complex.
Dave, 35, and Dan, 32, grew up in the hospitality business and went to work for their parents after completing college. They’ve been stepping up their management roles in recent years. Both are married and have children.
Dan was a resident of Hudson for six years before returning to Lakeland, Minn., a couple of years ago.
Where to find it
The Current is located in the heart of downtown Afton at 3291 St. Croix Trail South. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. in April.
In May, Current will be open seven days a week, and introduce a Saturday breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. and a Sunday brunch from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
You can learn much more about the restaurant on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/currentrestaurant, or website, www.currentrestaurant.com.
Brothers Dan and Dave Jarvis, whose family owns the Afton House Inn, have completely renovated the former Catfish Saloon space with doors that open up to the marina and warm-toned wood to create a cozy atmosphere. Their goal is to be accessible no matter the season; bright and breezy in warmer months and cozy in the cooler months. With seasonality in mind, they brought in chef Marc Paavola, a Sea Change and Porter & Frye alumnus, to create a fresh menu with an eye on healthy portions and options.
On a recent sunny, spring day they invited us for a complimentary lunch to preview their new operation. Continue reading →