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What a disappointment

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Where to start with all that was wrong? First, what was right. Party of six. Lovely to have a round table.

Now to the bad. Service was slow. 35 minutes from order to salad course. Two of us ordered this: "Grass‐fed beef roast, turnips, cipollini onions, bacon, whipped mustard sour cream." Meat was stone cold. Returned and came back hot, but the turnips were raw. No onions on the plate. "Whipped mustard sour cream?" Even I can stir some Grey Poupon into sour cream.

Those who had other plates, including the pork chops, were not impressed.

The guy running the house tried to make things right, including voiding the roast beef on our checks. But you know something? That was nice but we would rather have paid for good food that we couldn't make at home. The reason you dine out.

None of us will ever go back. Too many other great options.

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  1. Oops. I thought the name of the restaurant would appear. First time I've reviewed here. The restaurant was Heartland.

    1 Reply
    1. re: SarahInMinneapolis

      Wow...wouldn't have expected this kind of review from Heartland, though I still haven't been to the restaurant; only the market.

    2. I also had a very underwhelming experience at Heartland.

      1. Wow, that is disappointing.

        Still, I'd give Heartland another chance. The only time I had trouble at Heartland was a New Years Eve dinner (my risotto was al dente on the very raw side) and it was quickly taken of in a professional manner, especially considering the place was packed.

        Heartland goes the extra mile to make things right so I'm surprised to hear t his.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MplsM ary

          That's the thing, Mary. I didn't get the sense our server gave a rip one way or the other. I was the one who approached the hostess stand to get the roast beef returned...because the waiter didn't come back to check and didn't look like he was going to.

          Right now the TC is blessed with chefs and owners who regularly patrol their restaurants, making sure things are right. Given that kind of competition, no place gets a second chance, unless there was a heartfelt move or two to make things right. Which was not the case with Heartland.

          Let me be the first to predict that Heartland doesn't make it. Looks like a ton of money was spent to renovate the space. No room for error in having a party of six this unhappy -- and telling their friends.

          A couple of final thoughts. One, there weren't really any choices for apps to share. Usually this group drinks a couple bottles of wine with apps and then orders dinner (and more wine).

          Two, my expectation was that given the limited menu, each item would be outstanding. That wasn't the case.

          Finally, finally. Could be that last month we got together at Piccolo, which was simply outstanding in every respect (and no one even missed the lack of apps to share).

        2. I liked the food overall. The service was poor and it appeared the servers was new to the dining world. The wines were ice cold and selections were very poor for a restaurant at this level.

          I would rather spend more money and dine at La Belle Vie or spend less and dine at I Nonni and have superstar service with Jay.

          -----
          La Belle Vie
          510 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55405

          I Nonni
          981 sibley memorial hwy, Lilydale, MN 55118

          1. First visit? If so I personally think you are being a bit over-reactive by saying none of you will ever go back and that you don't think they will last. I have had a bad experience at all of my favorite restaurants before, it's just the way it is unfortunately. No one is perfect including that server nor the restaurant, if you complain to them directly my guess is they will do everything to take care of you and make you happy on your next visit.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Warehouse

              For a restaurant with Heartland's and Chef Lenny Russo's reputation there is NO EXCUSE for cold Roast Beef, NONE.

              1. re: Fudist

                Had a really terrible meal at Heartland last night. The most fatty ribs I have ever had. The server was surprised we didn't finish a 1 inch think portion of fat. Under cooked beans, potatoes, dry sturgeon, overcooked root vegetables. So unbelievable that the Star Tribune gave it 4 stars. What a joke.

                1. re: danfromsf

                  When the server asked "How is everything?," or whatever was asked when checking in during the meal, did you point out the fatty ribs and give them the chance to make it right, or at least make you better pleased with your meal?

                  1. re: MplsM ary

                    Our server was nice but seem to have too many tables to cover. It wasn't until the end of the meal and we had to get home to our young daughters. Too much was wrong with the meal to start trying to fix it. We had been to the old place and had a pretty good meal so it was surprising how much lower the quality was.

            2. Has anyone been both before and after the move? I'm wondering if there is a decline in quality, or if it's just not everyone's cup of tea. It's tough to square the meal we had with the descriptions here, but that was the old space, so it's been a while.

              5 Replies
              1. re: kevin47

                IMO there is no excuse for substandard service and/or food with restaurants 'of quality' like these. I can deal with 'average' but if the restaurant in question is that bad the first time, it's unlikely that I, or anyone I know, would want to gamble that it won't happen again.

                1. re: kevin47

                  I have been to the old space a few times and the new space once. The new space is definitely prettier/more interesting/livelier. I thought that the food was comparable at the old and new locations so at least as of Feb or so there did not appear to be a decline in quality. I have generally ordered the flora or fauna menu of the day. I personally have found the food to be solid, well executed examples of letting the ingredients shine. I have not encountered raw or cold items (unless they were supposed to be raw or cold). However, there are other places in town that I think have more interesting and innovative food. I like the concept behind Heartland and have enjoyed the food, but it is a different style of cooking than someplace like Heidi's or Piccolo which I think are more creative/intriguing.

                  1. re: LauraB

                    Well said, LauraB. I am in complete agreement with your observations.

                  2. re: kevin47

                    I too have been to both spaces. We just ate at the new space a few weeks ago and was underwhelmed with the food and service. I agree with wineglas that the wines are served at inappropriate temperatures. The food and vibe at the old space were IMO a little more upbeat and inventive. Since the move, I find the food, service and vibe to be a little more subdued. I was not impressed with the green bean salad we ordered recently or the cassoulet. As an accomplished home cook I am always looking for places to dine out where I will be inspired and impressed. I find that Travail, Haute Dish, Piccolo, and the Strip Club fill that bill for me more than Heartland. I too will not be returning.

                    -----
                    The Strip Club
                    378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

                    1. re: kevin47

                      I have, and have experienced top notch food and service in the new space with every single visit. I thought I would hate the new place because I loved the coziness of the original space, but I am happy to report I was wrong. I found the food to be outstanding every single time. And as a vegetarian, it makes me very happy indeed there are so many choices. I actually have a tough time deciding! We can only afford to go there for special occasions, and when we do go have always had a memorable meal.

                    2. Been to both locations many times. Food has always been solid. Service has been very professional.

                      The new location results in many more diners. On weekends, both the dining room and bar are full. And if there's a banquet event... That can probably put a strain on kitchen staff and dining room staff. I think Lenny and Mega will figure out how to deal with success and the growing pangs.

                      Regarding the ribs, those particular ribs have a degree of fat. That's the point. But if the server didn't advise you of that ahead of time, then shame on him/her.

                      1. I went once to the old space, and once to the new space. I was underwhelmed at the old space, but my visit to the new space was exceptional. The service was attentive and professional, the drinks and food were excellent, and the space was beautiful. I'd love to go back, but my budget doesn't allow for that level of expense with any frequency.

                        It's concerning to hear so many have had poor experiences. I hope the restaurant can succeed - they've done the space justice, and there's a lot of potential.

                        Can I advocate for a turn toward more respectful discourse in this thread? The personal attacks are pretty ugly.

                        1. Pardon the interruption folks, but we have split a sub-discussion of restaurant critics to the Food Media and News board here. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7793... If you wish to discuss food critics credentials, reviews and approaches please continue that discussion on Food Media and News.

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