Chef Gavin Kaysen’s beautiful French bistro
Each month, in our "Restaurant Rumble" conversation, MnMo food critics Jason DeRusha and Joy Summers review two restaurants and pick a winner.
Joy: Gavin Kaysen might be a Bloomington-raised, New York–anointed chef, but his mentor Daniel Boulud imparted a love of France.
Jason: And so Bellecour inhabits the closest thing we have to the French countryside: the tony Lake Minnetonka suburb of Wayzata. Like Kaysen’s debut restaurant, the North Loop’s Spoon and Stable, his remake of Blue Point’s former home is a stunner.
Joy: The space feels much more open and light, from morning to evening.
Interior of Bellecour
photos by tj turner
Jason: Bellecour is a cafe by day and bistro by night, treating diners to baguettes and vanilla-stuffed brioche, egg-salad sandwiches, or steak frites and French wine as the day goes on. Wine director Nico Giraud, himself a French import, has sourced several older-vintage, high-end Burgundies as well as a wonderful Chinon Blanc you can’t get anywhere else in Minnesota at just $14 glass.
Joy: We started off très Français with escargots en croûte—snails tucked into puff pastry. When my spoon broke through the crust, steam puffed out like some kind of mythic creature, leaving me enraptured.
Escargots En Croute
Jason: Normally, Joy, this is where I’d tell you that you’re being overdramatic, but we had the same reaction to the trout meunière. I can’t stop thinking about that flaky, tender, Wisconsin-raised trout served with green beans in a brown butter emulsion. Kaysen and crew breathe new life into a French classic that’s been around for a hundred years. Literally. They take the butter sauce and aerate it so it’s even creamier and more decadent than expected.
Joy: From the melty cheese and beefy broth of the French onion soup to the crispy, succulent duck à l’orange, everything we sampled was mind-numbingly exquisite.
Jason: I would ratchet that down just a notch, because not every dish is going to change your life, nor should you expect that. While the rotisserie roasted pork with acidic cider-glazed cabbage and green apple was perfect, the fava-bean agnolotti was more workman-like than magical. This is a French bistro: It’s supposed to offer delicious food of the sort you could enjoy several times a week—that is if you could get into this in-demand restaurant a couple times a week right now.
Joy: A great night out with friends might not be life altering, but it is life affirming. While expectations are high for an opening that draws national attention, this team delivers delicious dining. From the easy, comfortable service onward, it’s what Goldilocks would call “just right.”
Bellecour Quick Tips:
Parking: Until the city's new ramp opens, use the valet
Reservations: Recommended but hard to come by—the bar and patio are first-come, first served
Celebrity Sightings: Look for the internationally lauded chef/owner in the open kitchen
This month's "Restaurant Rumble" pitted Gavin Kaysen's French bistro, Bellecour, against the West Coast fare of Baja Haus. Find out which restaurant Jason and Joy chose as the winner in the July 2017 issue of MnMo.
9 Lake St. E., Wayzata, 952-444-5200, bellecourrestaurant.com