Edit ModuleShow Tags

DeRushaEats: The Unthinkable Joy of A Great Tasting Menu


I hate ordering at restaurants. Sounds weird, but I really would prefer to go to a great restaurant and ask the chef what I should eat (and if he or she said "It's all great," then I would beat the chef over the head repeatedly).

This is why I love, love, love tasting menus.

And last Saturday night I had one of the most incredible tasting menus I've ever had the pleasure of eating.

While Tim McKee deserves all the credit in the world for La Belle Vie, Chef de Cuisine Mike DeCamp is simply killing it in the kitchen there. Everyone calls him "YC" for "young chef," but this guy's no newbie.

Let me show you some of the incredible courses my wife and I inhaled. How does seared scallops with shaved fennel, fennel vinaigrette, tomato confit sound? Paired with a perfectly complimentary Chablis? Yeah.


The perfectly, artfully prepared soft shell crab with a gorgeous square slice of avocado, pickled radishes and dollaps of curry: perfection. The shell of the crab popped with a bit of spice, which gave it almost a hint of buffalo-sauce flavor. And the Vouvray contrasted with these flavors—again a magical pairing.


Matching a slightly-salty rabbit with a sweet chocolate, hazelnuts, and plopped next to a rabbit liver mousse—wonderful.


And the foie gras: oh my. Oh my. Seared foie on the left, a foie terrine on the right, with pear sauce and ginger cookie crumbles. This was the best foie gras I've had in my entire life.


There was more, but you get the idea. This stuff was magical. The service was perfect—attentive but not smothering. The wine was surprising and made every course better. And you don't get this experience by just ordering one thing off a menu.

La Belle Vie has a tasting menu in the main dining room that is $80 bucks for eight courses (+$60 for wine pairings) or $65 for five courses (+$45 for wine). Too much for you? The lounge tasting menu is the best fine dining deal in town. Four courses, $40, add $25 for the matching wine flight.

Love foie gras? Let them know ahead of time. Looking for a vegan menu? YC can make that happen too.

Trust me. Get the matching wine. Bill Summerville's pairings are a dining experience.

In the restaurant writing world, we're often looking to the newest rock star in town. But this tasting menu meal—the creativity, the perfect execution, and the stellar service—is a real reminder why La Belle Vie is still my top dog.

What's your favorite tasting menu in town? Who does it right? Who's got a bargain that I should know about? Share your tips in the comments!

La Belle Vie
510 Groveland Ave., Mpls., MN

(Next stop for me: Saturday night at Corner Table, and the Kitchen Table experience. Chef/Owner Scott Pampuch wrote about it here — I'll bring my camera and tell you about that too.)

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Taste Blog

Toast the Royal Wedding with British-Gin Cocktails

As Britain’s Prince Harry and U.S.-actress Megan Markle tie the knot, raise a glass to the happy couple—and those close to you—with wedding-themed tipples

Bottoms-Up Cinnamon Caramel Pinwheels Recipe

With this fast version of a sticky bun, baking at home can be no muss, no fuss—and delicious

Leslie Bock's Newest Bar Wants to Save the Future

"We're attempting to show humans as messy and complicated."

Rosé All Day: The Best Tastings (Some Free)

More than 100 different rosé wines available to try—many for free

Wine Clubs: The Perfect Mother's Day Gift

Sip Better figures out your taste for wine and goes deep

Gavin Kaysen Takes Midwest Gold

A quick note on our 2018 James Beard Best Chef: Midwest

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: May

This month, Sue Z. recommends supporting local student chefs with a dinner at Saint Dinette

Greek Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs Recipe

Get fired up for grilling season with tender, flavorful chicken kebabs by meat guru Bruce Aidells and a marinade that also works well with other proteins

My Name Is Jason and I Used to Hate Brunch

Brunch has undergone a renaissance in the Twin Cities. Food critic Jason DeRusha picks his top spots for brunch this year.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags