After the success of Spoon and Stable in the North Loop, everyone was watching to see what Chef Gavin Kaysen would do next (and I don’t mean the stand at the stadium). When word got out the next project would appear in Wayzata, the countdown for reservations was on (and become like a concert on-sale date). Bellecour was the name, Lake Street was the place and modern French influenced by mentors Daniel Boulud and Paul Bocuse was the format. With some good social media timing, I snagged a reservation for one of the first Sundays (March 26th).
The building has housed several restaurants over the years (including a Muffuletta I knew nothing about) and was completely redesigned for Bellecour by Minneapolis-based Shea (whose growing rÃ©sumÃ© is becoming seriously impressive: Spoon and Stable, McKinney Roe, Mercury Dining Room and Rail, Milkjam Creamery, Italian Eatery, 4 Bells, Eastside, CÅV). It’s a pretty space that’s not super big, but has several distinct areas, including a tiny bakery up front for pastry superstar Diane Yang. Cocktail legend Robb Jones (Spoon and Stable, Saffron, Bradstreet Crafthouse) leads the bar program, which we sampled while we waited for our table.
We were seated between two groups that were rather remarkable. On the one side, we had a family of four that appeared very high up the socio-economic ladder. I was surprised someone would bring such young children to a restaurant like this, but the kids turned out to be some of the best behaved people in the whole place. On the other side, we had what I found out later was a table full of restaurant critics (several of which I follow on social media). They were having an extremely fun time, at least that’s what I would surmise based on the amount of noise coming from that table (I still love you all, but wow).
We asked our server Ross how he liked working there and he said he actually just started and was hired after the initial wave of people were trained. He told us he was a chef prior to this job and he was very knowledgable about how all the menu items we asked about were prepared and served. There were a few timing issues with our service, but overall they were doing fine for a brand-new operation.
Colleen and I both started with salads – hers the verte (bibb lettuce, shaved radish, fines herbes vinaigrette, $9), while I went for the frisÃ©e (sourdough crouton, crispy bacon, poached egg, sherry vinaigrette, $12). How can you go wrong with sourdough, bacon and egg in a salad? It was very good, but The Bachelor Farmer still holds my number one spot.
For our main course selections, my notes say that Colleen had cod ($25), but it must have been a special (don’t see it on the current menu). I chose the steak frites (NY strip steak, watercress, arugula, beurre de Paris, $28) and found it to be a solid second to the same dish at Barbette. Colleen added a side of champignons (roasted mushrooms, madeira butter, $8), which were one of the highlights of the evening for her.
We both ordered sorbet for dessert (don’t recall the flavors, three scoops for $7), which were served in an edible bowl. Great presentation and strong flavor. Overall, the total bill with tip was right around $150. Stopped in the kitchen to say hi to chef and congratulate him on the new venture and found him to be as gracious and humble as the other times I’ve met him. It’s great to see good people achieve success – bravo, chef!