Worth the Drive

For more than a month, my colleague at WCCO-TV, Jamie Yuccas, has been on my case to try a place in Loretto called Bistro 11. Initially, I laughed and told her that a review of a place in Loretto would be useful to about a dozen people.

But finally, I gave in, taking my wife, kids, and in-laws to Bistro 11 on a Friday night.

It pains me to say this, but I should have listened to Jamie much earlier.

Bistro 11 has been open for a little more than a year, with chef Andrew Suthers in the kitchen. Suthers is a veteran of Biella, Manny’s, and Pittsburgh Blue, among other local spots. Along with general managers Kyle McBride and Kristin Rotter, Suthers has created something that really hits the sweet spot for me: a casual-feeling restaurant that also reaches for fine-dining touches.

In other words, no one was giving me dirty looks for ordering duck with my three-year-old sitting next to me. In fact, while we were there, families and groups of Lake Minnetonka socialites were coexisting in peace. It was beautiful, really.

Something else that was beautiful: the duck dish, Duck Ménage à Trois, a perfect combination of pan-seared duck medallions paired with a duck confit risotto and an orange cognac duck glaze. The duck was crispy and nicely cooked (the server suggested I have it medium, though I think it would have brought out more of the duck flavor if I’d had it medium rare). As they were out of duck risotto, the chef substituted in a tasty mushroom risotto—and promised me all the duck risotto I could eat the next time I returned.

My wife had prosciutto-wrapped scallops on top of a gorgeous sweet-corn purée. The scallops were fantastic—perfectly cooked, large, juicy, meaty. I would have ditched the prosciutto, though, as it made the dish a little too salty.

The sweet-corn puree/English peas/fava beans combo that accompanied the scallops was delightful. The sweet corn, which came from a farmer up the road, was bursting with sweetness, and the purée left enough kernels intact to give it a bit of crunch.

We started with the crab-cake appetizer. It was excellent. I love crab cakes that have far more crab than cake, and these three monsters hit the spot—plus they were enough for four adults to share. We also enjoyed the baked Brie. Really, how can you go wrong with Brie and orange marmalade spread on grilled peaches?

To tie everything together, I recommend the Wolfgang Gruner Veltliner Austrian wine. It paired nicely with everything we ate.

As for the little ones, there’s a kids’ menu. For $6 each, my boys had Italian Dunkers (garlic bread with tomato sauce), cheese pizza, and a drink. They were happy, we were happy—what more could a man ask for?

To top it all off, service was attentive and informed. In fact, one of our servers also works at Manny’s. Enough said.

Besides the amazing food and service, perhaps the best thing about Bistro 11 is that you can go for the fancier duck and scallop entrées, or go casual with their extensive pizza-and-burger menu. (I’ve heard especially good things about the Bistro Burger, made with beef from Ridgeroll Farms in Buffalo.)

And Loretto isn’t as far away as you’d think. If you live in Maple Grove, Plymouth, Wayzata, or on the north side of Lake Minnetonka, you’re really only about 20 minutes away.

I know I’ll certainly be making the drive again. And I think I owe Jamie dinner.

Bistro 11, 115 Railway St. W., Loretto,, 952-353-4566, bistro-11.com

Jason Derusha is a reporter for WCCO-TV.

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