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Restaurants & Bars 2

[MSP] Heartland, St. Paul (long)

The Dairy Queen | Nov 6, 200508:47 AM

Orange Julius and I had a lovely special occasion dinner at Heartland last night. We made our reservations through their website and received a phone call back within an hour from Chef Russo himself, confirming our reservations and saying that they would, indeed, make sure we had a special evening. When we arrived at the restaurant, they seated us at the most romantic table in the house, which was set back in an alcove, and had a direct view of the kitchen, which was a nice touch, and provided added entertainment.

O.J. and I both ordered the “fauna” prix fixe menu ($40) (which I can recite easily as Heartland posts its daily menu on its website and last night’s menu is still up):

Applewood smoked free-range poussin (that's chicken-- although ours was a teensy cornish game hen sized one-we had to look it up before we left for dinner) with roasted wild mushroom and sweet onion sauce

Herb-roasted lamb with autumn root vegetable hash with red wine glace de viande (the printed menu actually listed wild boar roast, but they were apparently out, so they asked if we wanted the lamb instead, and we were glad we did)

Two chocolate Acquavit mousse with black chokeberry jam and cinnamon-espresso crème anglaise and autumn spice cake (the autumn spice cake was actually the base of the mousse, giving it three layers. Also, there was a dollop of the chokeberry jam at the heart of the mousse, which added an extra surprise. It was so rich that I couldn’t finish mine (but, O.J. was happy to finish mine off.)

The two choices for housemade rolls were salty pumpkin seed and cranberry. I ordered a glass of the Cote du Rhone and O.J. had a Summit Extra Pale, which was one of two beer they had on tap. The wine list is pretty extensive, but it would be best if you have enough wine drinkers to order the whole bottle as the by the glass selection is more limited.

We enjoyed every bite of our meals, from the roasted beet amuse bouche they brought out to the last dab of chockberry jam at dessert. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Everything they brought to our table was rich and flavorful and nicely balanced. (Russo is a wizard with the sauces.)

O.J. and I tend to be pretty casual, spontaneous people, and I think that means Heartland is likely to remain only a special occasion dress-up restaurant for us, but, we'd love to continue to support this neighborhood restaurant ongoingly.

We think we’ll try eating at Heartland's adjoining wine bar next, where they don't take reservations and (I'm guessing), we wouldn't feel compelled to dress up. I’ve looked over the wine bar menu and every dish on the prixe fixe menu last night was also on the wine bar menu.

Has anyone tried eating at Heartland’s wine bar yet?



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