Heartland in St Paul
Has anyone been to the new Heartland restaurant in St Paul? I've read the reviews, however, I'm more interested in the casual diner's experience.
I had dinner at Heartland a couple of Fridays ago. Overall, I was pretty impressed. It's a nice room, tastefully done. I had a tasting menu that included partridge consommé (really outstanding -- clear and peppery, with some wood ear mushrooms in the broth), very tasty pan-roasted duck breast (was supposed to be goose, but the kitchen was out, which was disappointing) with a thimbleful of diced roasted squash as an accompaniment, and a chocolate/hazelnut tart that was sort of strange -- hard chocolate in a shortbread crust -- but tasted good. One of my dining companions had cassoulet, which he pronounced very good, and the two others had the fish tasting menu. That started with pan-fried bluegill, which they both liked, and then pan-roasted sturgeon, which they both disliked. I don't remember what their desserts were.
General notes: The wine list has some good bargains. Portions aren't very large, but that's not a big deal to me. The service was outstanding. Breads are house-made and very good. The four of us had two $30 bottles of wine and I think our tab was around $250. I'll definitely go back; I think Heartland is a good addition to the St. Paul dining scene.
I went a few weeks ago and thought it was very good. Most of the food is served as part of a prix fixe menu -- vegetarian $25, fish $30, meat $35 -- all with three courses. Four of us shared our dishes so I got to try a number of things. The food highlights on my visit were a duck consomme with trumpet mushrooms and sturgeon in a crayfish consomme with caviar and arugula. One of the people in our group really enjoyed a cassoulet with several types of game.
I've been to Heartland twice, both times with friends who wanted to return but I found the menu very limiting unless you are looking for a gristly venison chop or an overpriced boar chop. I enjoyed the salad choices most, although they were quite small for the price. The service was not very friendly but they sure do keep the water glasses full to the point of being annoying. Overall I would recommend the wine bar where the servers at least smile.
Water glasses too full, thats a new complaint.
You'll notice that while the posts you responded to are from february, its feb 2003. i think the prices have climbed to 35 and 40 for the "set" menu. I love Heartland a lot, but i will say that because they cook with whatever comes into the restaurant that day/week i have had some dishes that werent mindblowing, but in general i think the execution is impeccable.
The menu is quite limited, but there is always an interesting veg option that impresses me for someone as meat-centric as lenny russo.