UPDATE: Cafe Agri has a new chef so I stopped by to see if anything had changed (see below for my original review). It's still a quaint, cozy little neighborhood bistro that gives Minneapolis more "foodie creds." I also appreciate that so much of their menu is vegan or vegan-friendly (though why do they continue to insist on that one fish dish?).
That said, the food isn't as good as I remember it. I had a tofu scramble ($9), which was pretty plain and boring and seemed to be just tofu cooked in olive oil, along with some onions and red bell peppers. The sweet potato fries that came with the dish were cubed (why not cut them in long-strips, like normal fries?) and were okay, but not great.
The chocolate almond cake ($7) was the only vegan dessert. I thought the texture and sweetness of the cake were well-done, though the edges seemed overly-hard, whereas the interior portion of the cake was soft. The cake supposedly had an orange glaze sauce, but all I tasted was vanilla. I did, however, like the generous quantity of raw almonds they provided.
The theme at Cafe Agri is "farm to fork" but given how infrequently their menu changes, I kind of doubt that they're actually using many local, seasonal ingredients, and they're clearly not as committed or transparent as the hyper-local Common Roots Cafe.
As such, discounting the supposed "local-organic angle" (I have a hunch they're just green-washing), you can get three times the tofu scramble, with a more sophisticated flavor and seasoning, along with vegan home-made nacho cheese and skillet potatoes, at Triple Rock Social Club for the same price as the bland stuff Cafe Agri serves.
If a punk-rock bar can out-cook a chef-driven bistro, something is seriously wrong with the bistro. Similarly, you can get a larger, more moist, more delicious vegan turtle cake at French Meadow for only $4, or basically at half the price of what Cafe Agri charges for its vegan cake.
I think Cafe Agri has a cool concept and is a nice joint, but their food and implementation falls dramatically short of the competition, whether it's a vegan-friendly bar (Triple Rock), an organic European bistro (French Meadow), or a truly local/organic cafe (Common Roots). In any case, Cafe Agri doesn't seem to have a sense of itself, or its market, to really compete at this point.
ORIGINAL REVIEW: Cafe Agri is a trendy, modern, little joint in a nice residential area of Minneapolis. Seating is limited, but the service is friendly and fairly prompt.
The food is on the pricier side, but the quality of the ingredients (fresh, local, seasonal, organic) justifies this. Our beet ribbon salad was wonderful---subtly sweet and savory, with juicy beets, fresh strawberries and nutty, perfect figs (I normally don't like figs, but these were special). My main course, vegetables in a light BBQ sauce with heirloom rice, was simple and popped with the flavors of local, sustainable peas, bell peppers and onions. My friend's pasta dish was light and tasty, featuring avocado, hand-picked tomatoes and delicious brown-rice penne. Finally, our dessert, a mango pudding with Brazil nuts and dark chocolate shavings, was complex, and had a perfect balance between semi-sweet chocolate and semi-ripe mango.