Restaurants & Bars 3

MSP: Brunchquest 2008-W.A. Frost St Paul

soupkitten | Mar 18, 200808:24 PM

so we've been making a big deal about brunch on the weekends lately, trying out new places, ordering coffee and eggs at places we've only had dinner at previously, boldly ordering cocktails and proper dessert before noon on a sunday if we durn well feel like it. thought i'd share.

w.a. frost has a reputation as a hoity-toity, old-school elegance, wasp-y sort of place-- and it is. . .but despite a certain degree of stuffiness the restaurant manages to be completely charming. located in a cathedral hill building on the historic registry, the 33 year old restaurant has old marble-topped tables, worn oriental rugs, and its walls are heavily hung with original oils. the fireplaces are wood-fired and hand-stoked while patrons dine, the bar is filled with architectural salvage, the impressive wine list is award-winning and extends to almost 1100 vintages. in this genteel atmosphere, your pal soupkitten (feeling a bit scruffy and out of place), was seated by the gracious and competent staff at a little table by the window. i could look out onto the spacious and snow-covered brick patio, and watch birds visit the well-stocked feeders hanging just beyond the tall panes. it was absolutely lovely, and by the time our server returned with my formal tea cup&saucer and tea infuser filled with temple of heaven green tea (chosen from the menu list of 15 loose leaf house teas), i was completely at ease.

dh enjoyed a delicious, spicy bloody mary with plenty of horseradish and fresh cracked pepper. our brunch mains, when they arrived: for dh, frost's version of steak and eggs; grilled black angus sirloin in a wonderful mushroom steak jus, with breakfast potatoes that managed to be moist and crispy at the same time. for me, grilled norwegian salmon, dill-scented fingerling potatoes, cherry tomato-harissa sauce. both mains were outstanding-- huge, perfectly grilled slabs of meat and fish for a brunch portion! the sauced vegetables were done with great artistry-- at this restaurant, brunch is clearly *not* an afterthought, staffed by second-stringers in the kitchen. someone is doing serious fine cooking back there. i especially liked my salmon's accompaniment of wilted broccolini. its coarse bitterness was a perfect complement to the salmon, which otherwise may have been a bit too tame. the dilled fingerling potatoes were stellar.

the folks at the table next to ours discussed sculling crew's concerns between courses. dh and i took turns sneaking off to the downstairs, where you can peek into parts of the wine cellar. this place is huge! back to the table to order dessert-- we split the mini dessert sampler; mini creme brulee, tiny pear rosemary olive oil cake, wee triangle of layered chocolate mousse. of these i thought the pear rosemary olive oil cake, served with a teeny scoop of house-made sorbet and fresh raspberry puree, was fantastic. the creme brulee was a well executed classic presentation, dense custard speckled with madagascar vanilla bean etc-- no complaints possible. dh and i agree that the layered peanut butter and chocolate mousse was the weakest link-- sweet with not much complexity. we didn't finish this mini dessert, though we cleaned the rest of the plate-- i even ate the fresh mint garnish, in a very ladylike manner. :)

dh and i, having been in the biz for a long while, are amiable, forgiving-- and at the same time very critical and detail oriented when it comes to service. we're easy to please but hard to impress. our service at w.a. frost was extremely fine. our server made great recs and did not make a single mistake or omission. in msp server olympics this guy would be a strong contender. we also witnessed great service philosophy in action-- "if a glass falls, and it's in someone else's section, does *anyone* hear it?" the couple on a brunch date near the fireplace had a glassware mishap and concerned servers came scurrying from whole other *rooms.* why do i spend my hard earned money at other restaurants, again?

my pot of infused tea, a call bloody mary, 2 fantastic brunch mains, the mini dessert trio, and a nice espresso came to $59.05. server got fat tip. don't let the obnoxious lite classical vivaldi crapfest muzak on w.a. frost's website stop you, head over for brunch and have a nice time.

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