I see a few others wrote about this place last Spring. We had not been until recently. My wife and I had dinner at JITP twice in the last two weeks; once with our 12 year old daughter, and once on a Saturday night with an old friend. The place was packed both times. We had a reservation, and the wait was reasonable. It is pretty small, with tables crammed toether Euro-style. I like the cozy atmosphere.
Overall I would echo the very positive reports from previous Hounds. First off, the service at this place is absolutely top notch. Everyone on staff seems to be genuinely glad you are there, and really want you to enjoy your visit. There don't seem to be any "hipster/starving artist/I think I'm so much cooler than you (but I'm not very good at my job)" types on staff, unlike many TC places where the food is very good but the service is not. They accomodated several special requests re food prep without any difficulty. One time I arrived with a bottle of Champagne in hand. Flutes and a bucket properly filled with ice-water appeared at our table w/o me saying a word. They were very attentive to pacing and what order we wanted dishes brought out in. No detail was missed.
The food ranged from very good to excellent. A small number of entrees are on offer -- steaks, chicken, seafood. All were very well executed. I had scallops once, snapper the second time. Both were delicious. The guy next to me had teh ribeye, and man it looked yummy. The appetizers were fabulous. My wife raved about the beef carpaccio, and the chorizo stuffed prunes are wonderful. The carmelized brussels sprouts cooked in malpe syrup are a real treat. The lamb meatballs looked very good. Desserts were solid.
My only small kvetch is the wine list. Which is somewhat odd, because I got the feeling that some of the people there really know wine. (They have proper stemwear, decanters, and ice buckets.) But at the end of the day the list is mediocre. They have a bunch of relatively inexpensive (for a restaurant) wines. Many are New World. None are standouts, and some are pretty lame. The good news is that the corkage is a reasonable $20, so we will likely just bring our own. But JITP could definietly step up its game by replacing some of the oaky, overextracted New World vinos with more classic, food friendly French choices in the same price range, and also add a few $50-$60 bottles to the list of mostly $30 bottles.
Very nice to have a welcoming place, run by a real person, turning out tasty food in Saint Paul.
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