Downtown St. Paul - fancy-ish
My uncle is coming to town in a couple weeks for business and is looking for a nice restaurant in downtown St. Paul for a client meeting. Since I get to come along, I have a vested interest in picking a good spot.
My first thought was Au Rebours. I have not been there, however, in about 4 years so I am not sure if it is still good. Has anyone dined there recently?
He had heard about Pazzaluna, which I am not a big fan of. The other places that came to mind were St. Paul Grill, Kincaid's, and Sakura (which I love, but probably is not the right atmosphere for the meeting).
Since our baby was born 16 months ago we have not made it over to St. Paul as much (especially downtown), except for my occasional trips to Wild games when I am not fine dining. What would you guys recommend? I think he wants to stay within walking distance of the St. Paul Hotel.
I have to put in a good word for Pazzaluna. While I haven't eaten in the restaurant, my wife and I have eaten in the bar many times and always had wonderful food. The pizzas and antipasti have always been great.
I'll also second Margaux, but it isn't a great place for a meeting at night. I think St. Paul Grill is the best bet.
Josh...how many attending, how formal of a meeting and how picky are the eaters?
Without knowing these, my reflexive answer for #1 is SPG as they are bound to provide the highest level of service and have some nice private dining options. Kincaids should will provide very good service on a consistent basis and has a slightly broader menu. Au Rebous and Pazzaluna are ok for food & service, but they both tend to have pretty bad conversational acoustics...especially Au Rebous.
Sakura is the best fancy restaurant in downtown Saint Paul. Au Rebors is close second. The rest are showy with bad food.
La Grolla ... don't bother. It's no better than Pazza Luna really. If you want fancy Italian in the Twin Cities, Luci is the place unless you're a partner in a big downtown law firm. Then go to D'Amico Cucina.
Now, if you're looking for a chili dog with a bun fried in butter or a butter-like substance, served in an atmosphere of overt hostility with deer heads on the walls and pictures of hockey teams dressed only in jock straps...maybe the client would like this? If so, go to The Gopher.
I love Au Rebours for lunch and dinner. I also love the bar at the St. Paul Hotel - it is wonderful and I especially like having a cocktail at the SPH during the winter when it's freezing outside and warm and toasty inside. The bar is beautiful, the bartenders knowledgeable and they can pour a good drink.
St Paul Grill - would be the first choice
Pazz - just ok, never had a bad meal there - but they must not have been great since we never go back unless someone else picks it!
Kincaids - sorry to hear a downward trend - I usually just grab something & a drink at the bar. Its been pretty reliable.
Fhimas - just say no.
That's about it.
There are a few other places which I would recommend but I don't know if you want to catch a cab or leave downtown.
Plus these are a little less on the expense account scale.....
Lexington on grand (at lexington)
La Grolla (selby)
Heartland (st clair)
downtowner wood fire grill (west 7th)
Unfortunately, downtown St. Paul is slim in pickings.
I think St. Paul Grill is your best option. I actually like St. Paul Grill because I've always had great service and the food is good.
Pazzaluna is just okay (rather casual) and Fhima's is overrated and Kincaid's is just as katebauer described above. St. Paul Grill. Good luck.
I've been to A Rebours several times in the past year. The food has been quite good, the service great, but overpriced in my view. We last went to Kincaid's about a year ago and won't go back. We went to Pazzaluna once and found it deplorable. Fhima's, while not the greatest restaurant in town, is an occasion in itself if you haven't seen the inside. I wouldn't nix it.
But overall, I think A Rebours is your best bet.
We went to Kincaid's the other night for dinner and it was mediocre. The appetizer sampler was pretty much TGI Friday's quality. For an entree I got the filet mignon which was good but the scalloped potatoes and fried onions completely overwhelmed the plate and just made me feel greasy and heavy. The bill came to about $75 per person which seemed high considering we all had 1-2 drinks, shared appetizer and no dessert.
So, now that I've talked you out of that one, I have no good suggestions. We just don't make it to downtown St Paul that ofen.