Saturday, April 5, 2008

Rhonda Laurie

When: 4/2/08
Where: Cave Vin
Who: Rhonda Laurie (vocals), Reynold Philipsek (guitar), Gary Schulte (violin), Jeff Brueske (bass)

My favorite Wednesday night dinner out: Cave Vin. Since late last year, singer Rhonda Laurie has brought gypsy jazz to this cozy southwest Minneapolis neighborhood bistro once a week.

The room is divided (sort of) into a smaller front section with tables and wine bar and a larger back section with banquettes and open kitchen. The first Wednesday we went, most people were sitting in the larger back section. This time, most were sitting in the smaller front section, facing the band and listening to the music.

Laurie usually performs with Philipsek and Brueske; Schulte's violin was a perfect addition to the group and I hope he appears with them more often. Three of us (HH, Andrea Canter, and I) had a lovely dinner (crab-crusted halibut, scallops, steak) and shared a pot de creme.

This is a French bistro, with things on the menu I won't eat (frog legs and snails). But the food and the service have been consistently good in the years HH and I have been coming here, and now we get to hear Laurie and her band as well, really hear them, not battle the crowd noise (think Crave and Maude) to catch a single note.

Visit Laurie's MySpace site to hear her sing. Better yet, show up at Cave Vin some Wednesday night between 6:30 and 9:00.

Photo: Laurie (center) performing with the Jazz Vocalists of Minnesota at the Artists' Quarter in 2007. Next time I'll get a picture (or HH will) at Cave Vin.

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