Today’s suburbanites are divided into two camps: those being blamed for all the tacky teardowns and those that Wayzata’s new 6Smith courts, the so-called “urban suburban” who are hip to the scene yet prefer the comforts beyond the belt line. They’re flocking to the former home of NorthCoast, which has been stripped down to its raw concrete floors and steel beams. Out went the sleek, polished wood and white tablecloths as the space transformed from dressy-chic to gritty-chic. The focus remains right where it belongs: on the view of Lake Minnetonka.
With such an alluring location, service and food could coast, but both are in capable hands. Owner Randy Stanley was the longtime general manager of Manny’s, so he knows his way around both a well-heeled crowd and a side of beef. Chef JP Samuelson oversees the menu where, alongside the standard filet mignon and New York strip, are less-prized cuts, such as a flat-iron steak in a sweet-tart balsamic marinade, that still run $30 a plate. Lobster can be ordered thermidor-style, as croquettes, or spring rolls (among other options), and there are several burgers, including a knockout dressed with bacon jam and sharp-Cheddar sauce. It’s mostly well-trod territory, save for, say, the braised pork neck and duck-confit pot stickers.
While everything I sampled, from the lobster roll to the éclair ice-cream sundae, was as good as what Samuelson has recently delivered at Soprano’s, none made for a meal as memorable as those at his late, oft-lamented jP American Bistro. But 400-some seats means both that you must cast a wider culinary net and that it’s tougher to catch overcooked meat—sins easier to forgive when you’re up on the roof deck, cocktail in hand.
6Smith • 294 E. Grove Ln., Wayzata. • 952-698-7900 • 6smith.com