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Jan 31, 2008 08:15 AM

Msp - Heidi's vs Alma?

hello hounds -

I've been reading many of your posts re: Msp in preparation for a 2-evening/dinners trip next month. Having weighed many of your comments (which hold more weight than a printed menu) along with dining destination's sites, I've narrowed down our options to a tight few. I would like a specific rec btwn the two - Heidi's or Alma for one of the evenings. The other night is already claimed, so it can't be both.

I'm a vegetarian, and will be visiting in Msp w/ my dad, who's happily not a vegetarian. I'm also a foodie, not into tofu and "vegetarian" stuff like all kinds of fake meats. I'm accustomed to dissecting a menu and reading the fine print to look for chefs that really sing the praises of the non-animals, and I'm comfortable with both Heidi's and Alma for those reasons. I've reviewed countless - and I mean ALL of the restaurants that y'all post about - menus in Msp, so I'd politely request that we not go off course and get into other suggestions. I've looked at them all. A preference btwn Heidi's or Alma is what I'm interested in. : ) And whichever one we don't get to this trip, we can always try the next time.

One additional question out of curiosity: nobody eats at Cosmos these days? Has it completely fallen out of favor? We're staying at the Graves601, and I thought of that as an option as I'd heard so much about it a few years ago. I'm not planning on eating there this trip unless we'd be missing something. I understand from comments that many think it's pricey. Is that the real drawback, or is it just not worth the bother?

Thanks much for your thoughts - I've really learned a lot from reading the boards.
(and if anyone wants any MT dining recs - good luck...... abysmal choices - I'd be happy to help as much as possible).

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  1. Hi holdthecow. Glad you'll be joining us next month. I'm probably not going to give you a satisfying answer to your overall question, but I would love to answer your question about Cosmos. I think the food there is great and, if you are willing to spend the money, is a great choice.

    I run against the grain of this board, but am not a great fan of Alma. The few meals that I've had there have been very good but none has moved the earth under my feet. (For MSPers I put it at Lucia's level.) I have yet to eat at Heidi's but have heard the same good things that you have.

    I'm interested to hear what you have to say about your ultimate choice. In the past 6 months I've given up red meat and fowl, so I'm in the process of recalibrating my restaurant opinions.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bob s

      Thx so much for the comments on Cosmos.... I did like the looks of the menu, as did my father. But nobody talks about it so I dunno.... A few of the places that seem to be popular amongst hounds will be on a short list in my purse as potential lunch places, dependent upon where we end up during the one full day.

      Really looking forward to the trip, and hopefully more. My dad's biz takes him to MN frequently, so this is a great option for this time of year for us to get a visit together - stay inside and eat. You're very lucky to have so many options.


      1. re: holdthecow

        I'm not going to try to convince you to have one of your dinners at Cosmos, but I do recommend you try it for breakfast or lunch if it fits into your schedule.

        I've had all of the items on the breakfast room service menu, so if you're feeling decadent you could always go that route. From the lunch menu, I've had the salmon and the sea bass -- both excellent. The soups, salads and sandwiches are top-notch as well. A bargain it ain't, but quite tasty nonetheless.

    2. This question might not be getting quick responses because it is like asking people if they like Acura's or Infiniti's. both are good and you'll probably have a good experience with either.

      I haven't been to Alma but I will try to describe the ambiance of Heidi's.

      Heidi's is a small space. about 6 or 7 tables on either side of the room and a wide space for the staff to walk through. It can get somewhat noisy. Appropriately dim lighting and a relaxed atmosphere.
      Wines are typically from smaller cellars so there are interesting options.
      Daily cheese selections are displayed at the door.
      Parking is on the street but available.

      I'm not sure there is anything else I can provide but if you think of any more questions feel free to ask.

      Hopefully someone can weigh in on the Alma "experience"

      1. I will admit to never having been to Heidi's, but last weekend my parents were visiting from NYC and we brought them to Alma. They said after that it was one of the best meals they've had, and these are people that have dined in Paris, London, etc. I know others have had not so fantastic experiences there, but the past 3 meals I've had at Alma have been fantastic. Last week we tried the swiss chard souffle, warm lentils and pork confit, spaghettini & littleneck clams, and I had the pheasant entree. They were all wonderful, with amazing intricacy of flavor. My husband thought the spaghettini dish could have had more garlic, but I thought it was great - perhaps if I were going for a red sauce Italian restaurant version I would have thought differently.

        As far as Cosmos, I've had 2 lunches, 2 room service breakfasts, and their food at the Taste of the Nation charity event. Every meal was fantastic and the entrees mindblowing. We did have Valentines reservations there last year but had to give them to friends because I was busy with work. We don't think of going there often though, because it is in the hotel, and the ambiance feel a little lacking. If I were staying in the hotel and wanted a decadent evening in, I would go there. It is much more modern than the other restaurants, I would feel the need to dress up more (in a Minnesota dress up kind of way).

        1. I'm responding to my own post to thank everyone for the thoughtful input received. Now I know why I was having a hard time deciding btwn the two. The comments have been reassuring, and are making me think that my initial plan (Cosmos the first night, 112 the 2nd) were perhaps worth sticking to! Would that Alma or Heidi's were open for lunch.... A and H may have to wait for next trip. I thought I'd scratch the Cosmos night but I think for now we'll give it a shot for dinner.

          It's so enticing to see so many choices - I'm a former NYCer, but when I go back I'm generally too busy with family to go out to dinner. This trip is an opportunity. And really happy to not see lots of "foams" and other trendy things on menus (where have the sun dried tomatoes and panko crumbs all gone? ; ) ) So pleased with all of the non-laboratory selections.

          I've got a short list of additions for lunch/blunch options to mix in (Hell's Kitchen, Barbette, Fugaise) and will hopefully get to Rustica Bakery both for some yums while there and to bring along to my next stop - my friend's in MI. I'm sure she and I, and her sons, can do some healthy pastry damage over the subsequent days.

          cheers to all, and thanks again.

          2 Replies
          1. re: holdthecow

            I can't guarantee you won't get foam at Cosmos, but it will be delicious foam.

            1. re: katebauer

              now that was funny.

              I'll definitely report back on our experiences.

          2. Haven't been to Heidi's yet, but Alma's is great. Fresh food, well cooked, interesting flavors. Usually it is very very good and sometimes it is great. Never had a bad meal. Eat downstairs or at the bar - upstairs is a bit hot I think. Menu changes a lot, but if they have Kobe pot roast - it is amazing!