Located in the swanky town of Wayzata – perhaps the most blue-blooded enclave of the Upper Midwest – is Bellecour, the latest buzzing restaurant from Chef Gavin Kaysen.
A departure from sister restaurant, Spoon and Stable, Bellecour features white-washed Nantucket decor, French delicacies, and a Lilly Pulitzer sporting clientele.
Although not necessarily hip, one can’t deny that Kaysen knowns what the Wayzata set wants – good food, white linens, and a place to be seen. And, even though the restaurant may lack the North Loop vibe, the suburban restaurant has equally creative cocktails and more delicious food than what is found in Minneapolis.
A refined yet bustling space, Bellecour makes up for its inevitable stiffness in its delicious food and warm waitstaff.
Bonus Points: the a.m. bakery
After a heavy week, whether at work or with life in general, my family was in need of an escapist meal to take our mind of things. Luckily, several weeks before, I had booked us a table at one of the hippest new spots in the Twin Cities, Bellecour in Wayzata.
After a few cheap pre-drinks at the municipal bar (if Wayzata had a dive bar, I suppose this would be it), we sprinted through pouring rain to the Lake Street restaurant.
Upon entering, it didn’t seem like there were black skies outdoors – sunny, airy, and bright, the well lit space was like entering a soaring Cape Cod home. Open concept with a beautiful wine cellar (in some ways, a similar focal point to that found in sister restaurant Spoon & Stable), Bellecour features a sweeping all white bar space, a solarium-esque patio, and kitchen-side dining. The main dining room is bustling, with soft beige walls and supple leather banquettes. However, I couldn’t overcome the fact that I was being force fed a Hamptons ideal that had gone out of style 7 years ago (see restaurant Cōv). But, then again, Kaysen knows what his prime guests want: a refined, East Coast feeling, close to home. And, that being said, despite my hate, he knows how to do Nantucket inspired decor, well, right.
I digress. Upon entering, I noticed the hostesses did seem a bit rough around the edges. Maybe too young and too in need of a summer job to be the right fit for the expectations set by every magazine review in the Twin Cities. But, they were all clearly well trained, even if not full time hospitality veterans.
One of the many helped us to our seat, a cozy corner booth in the main dining room.
We all started with beverages. I opted for a seasonal Sidecar, one of my all time favorites. It happened to be peach flavored for the moment, and although I prefer a traditional Sidecar, it wasn’t too bad. My father got the signature Bellecour Old Fashioned, which was amazing, and being cheap, my mother ordered a glass of the house white, a boring Sauvignon Blanc. I told her to get the Chablis, she should have listened!
oysters & more.
Our wonderful waiter helped us navigate the menu. He shared some amazing specials for the day, including a pistachio pâté and a seasonal lobster gazpacho. We were so overwhelmed and excited about the menu. We went back and forth and back and forth between this and that. My father agonized over the pork schnitzel or the braised short rib. I struggled between the chicken and the halibut. And, so on. Finally we decided, choosing with difficulty to forgo a side of cauliflower rôti for the pâté instead.
First up were the appetizers.
The server brought bread for the table – perfectly toasted to perfection, with a crispy outside and fluffy inside. Possibly some of the best French bread I have had. Ever. Following were the fresh New Brunswick oysters. They were served with the most amazing hot sauce, whipped up in the back. The spice paired wonderfully with the creamy richness of the seafood.
Up next: pâté and little baby toasts, which were too cute to pass up. Although it’s not usually my thing, it was quite good, especially when paired with the sweetness of the rhubarb jam. I also loved the texture of the salty pistachios against the soft spread and crispy bread. It was my dad’s favorite dish, he would not stop raving.
My appetizer, however, was by far the highlight. The yellow tomato gazpacho, paired with hearty chunks of lobster meat was amazingly fresh and vibrant. My favorite item of the evening.
Although it felt like we had already eaten an entire meal, there was still the main course. After a fresh round of drinks, a Chablis white wine for me (10/10 would recommend! I love Chablis, especially this particular pour!), and another Old Fashioned for my dad, we settled into the booth, enjoying the buzzy dining room. We had all ordered protein forward dishes and after decent conversation, they arrived.
For my father, a stunning and ample serving of braised short rib. Tender and flavorful, it paired wonderfully with the mushrooms. As for me, a serving of Alaskan halibut. The fish was perfectly cooked, and had a delicious, crispy exterior which melted in your mouth. Unfortunately, the bed of ratatouille was salty and mushy, to the point where it almost tasted pre-prepared. (I have found this to be an unfortunate trend in most higher end establishments in the Twin Cities – salty sides, which take away from the delight of the meat.) But, despite the drawbacks of the ratatouille, the halibut itself still was very worthwhile.
However, the poulet roti was the star of the show: delicious crispy skin and perfectly tender meat, it was a delight. The sweet peas were a nice accompaniment, as well, and were seasoned carefully with the right amount of salt.
coffee & dessert.
We finished the evening, despite our full bellies, with delicious coffee and a soft raspberry mousse. They were both perfection… And with that, we slipped out into the damp summer evening, heading home for a much needed night’s rest. Until next time, Bellecour 💖