Heirloom’s Brisket. Photos by TJ Turner.
Each month, in our restaurant rumble conversation, MnMo food critics Jason DeRusha and Joy Summers review two restaurants and pick a winner.
Joy: The Merriam Park neighborhood in St. Paul was my home for years and we were always short on great dinner options—128 Cafe, and that was about it.
Jason: Chef Wyatt Evans ran the kitchen for 11 years at W.A. Frost, and just like Frost alum Lenny Russo and Russell Klein, he left the legend to open his own spot.
Joy: Heirloom’s aesthetic is farmhouse inspired, with reclaimed wood and pale walls.
Jason: I found the smaller plates to be far more delicious than the mains. The trout pastrami is really clever: It’s cured with pastrami spices, brushed with squid ink, then smoked.
Joy: I was bowled over by that dish’s interplay of subtle and powerful flavors—it’s a must-order.
Jason: The Interesting Vegetables were prepared in interesting ways—some roasted, some pickled—but the effect was lost on me since they were tossed together on the same plate.
Joy: I think it’s dangerous to call something “interesting” in Minnesota. “That’s interesting” is not a ringing endorsement, and that’s exactly how I felt about that dish.
Jason: I highly recommend the brisket, and the ricotta gnocchi was fabulous: pillowy puffs of gnocchi countered with a spicy n’duja sausage and a duck egg. But I am sick of restaurants telling me how great their roast chicken is. Heirloom’s chicken was fine but nothing special. $17? No thanks.
Joy: I was not expecting the brisket to be so dry—it’s prepared corned beef-style and the result was strings of salty, dry beef. If the menu had warned me, I’d have adjusted my juicy-moist expectations.
Jason: Our server gave us the heads up about the brisket and also warned us that the pork jowl was super-fatty—he was right on both counts.
Joy: I’d stick to ordering from the small and medium plates and sharing with friends. That way you can explore the dishes as Evans stretches his creativity, all for a reasonable price. Which, speaking of price, Heirloom is another no-tipping restaurant.
Jason: But it’s a little awkward that below the 18 percent service fee, there’s a line for an additional gratuity. I felt the guilt. I tossed in an extra couple bucks.
Joy: Good man, DeRusha. I took them at their word and now I have to live with the guilt.
Heirloom Quick Tips:
Parking: There’s a lot in back and plenty of parallel parking on Marshall
Sorta secret menu: Sit at the bar for special munchies like wings and pâté
Good for kids? Get a sitter
HEIRLOOM CHEF WYATT EVANS
May’s restaurant rumble pitted modern farmhouse-inspired Heirloom against European flavored Draft Horse. Find out which restaurant Jason and Joy chose as the winner in the May issue of MnMo.
Heirloom, 2186 Marshall Ave., St. Paul, 651-493-7267, heirloomstpaul.com