MSP Prix Fixe Menus?
In a quest for outstanding food, I am looking for exceptional fixed price menus offered by local chefs. When we lived in the Bay Area, there were many options, and my personal favorite was Chez TJ in Mountain View.
In the Twin Cities, I have had a mind-blowing menu at La Belle Vie, and was somewhat underwhelmed by that at Alma.
Price is not an object, and well-selected wine pairings are a plus.
I think the prix fixe has been supplanted by the multi-course 'tasting menu' in the 21st century. La Belle Vie is an incredible value considering the quality of the cooking. Fugaise also has a great tasting menu (pretty much a tour of the regular menu). Vincent is right up there. Solera has a tasting menu that gives you a broad selection of tapas at a value price.
Vincent A Restaurant
1100 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Fugaise [CLOSED 2009]
304 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414
La Belle Vie
510 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55405
900 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Saffron's got a tasting menu, too.
Saffron Restaurant & Lounge
123 North 3rd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Having experienced the tasting menu at all the above mentioned spots, I have to say that the one I most enjoyed was at the new kid on the block...Porter & Frye. Here's what was cool: The online menu indicates that a tasting menus is available on request. When I called, I was put through to the kitchen. The phone was answered by none other than the executive chef, Steven Brown!
Steven then spent 5-10 minutes talking to me about the menu he would put together for us. He asked about our likes and dislikes. He actually was creating it as we spoke. For example, I mentioned foie gras, and among the dishes he presented us was a beautiful piece of foie served on top of, get this, a Belgian waffle! I know it sounds weird, but it absolutely worked! The 7 course experience he gave us was tremendous.
I think Steven is doing the most creative cooking in the Cities right now. I find La Belle Vie very good, but my meal at Porter & Frye took things to another level. I'm from Chicago, and Alinea is my gold standard (if that gives you context). Porter & Frye gave me the best meal I've had since moving here. That was a few weeks ago. I'm going again later this week, so we'll see if it was an anomaly (reviews have been mixed so far). Service can be laughingly uneven...but I'm willing to work through it to get to the food. I encourage you to give it a try...call and ask for the tasting menu.
BTW, during our phone conversation, Steven asked me about my wine preferences. He was eager to do a pairing, and actually sounded disappointed to hear that my wife and I don't drink! Nevertheless, they put together a non-alcoholic pairing that was a lot of fun.
Porter and Frye
1115 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55403
I don't know what side of town you live on, but if you are east and are looking for that kind of food and service, the Bayport Cookery is my vote. 3, 5 or 9 courses with wine. Fabulous food, service, ambiance and the wine pairings you are looking for! They also recently opened a wine/appetizer like bar, but I have not yet experienced that portion of their serviece. if you do not live on the east side of town it can be a drive, but worth the effort. They also have seasonal speciality menus like morel mushrooms and if you are not from here and a foodie you must experiece, garlic, chocolate, etc...