New Restaurant: Chloe by Vincent

In chef Vincent Francoual’s latest move, fine dining isn’t too fine for his memorable, Gouda-stuffed burger
Scallops with orange  sauce and the As You Wish cocktail
Scallops with orange sauce and the As You Wish cocktail

Photo by Kevin Kramer

Longtime Nicollet Mall fave Vincent Francoual (of the aptly named Vincent A Restaurant) is finally back in the public eye after lurking in the shadows for seven years as the culinary director of Cara Irish Pubs (the Local, Kieran’s Irish Pub, the Liffey) and the executive chef of the Minikahda Club.

Unlike the latter’s prim atmosphere and private, members-only menu, Francoual’s new gig is warm and welcoming, a self-proclaimed “casual French restaurant that serves the food French families relish.”  Hammering that angle home is its name: Chloe by Vincent, a nod to Francoual’s top sous chef—his daughter.

Chef Vincent Francoual
Chef Vincent Francoual

Photo by Kevin Kramer

Anyone who has been to a decent restaurant over the past decade knows the rules: Dial back on the tablecloths and tweezers while keeping the classical training intact. Francoual must have had a sense of this sea change with his last restaurant, which leaned into the fine dining lane but managed to make a memorable burger stuffed with smoked Gouda and braised short rib. It’s back in action here, as is an encore presentation of his past life’s other signature entree: scallops with orange sauce, leeks, and fingerling potatoes.

The rest of Chloe’s recipes are bistro revelations, like hand-cut steak tartare crowned with capers, shallots, and cornichons; a savory buckwheat crepe folded over a fantastic combo of umami-packed mushrooms, acorn squash, cream, and port wine; and a highly shareable, meat-heavy cassoulet.

Escargot in garlic butter at Chloe by Vincent
Escargot in garlic butter

Photo by Kevin Kramer

The second act of Restore—which is the newly formed restaurant group from Dennis Monroe, his son Matt, and his business partner Erik Forsberg, of the “tracksuit-style” Italian restaurant Devil’s Advocate—put Chloe in a prime location: a cavernous room attached to the Thresher Square hotel Canopy by Hilton, just a short walk from the Guthrie Theater and U.S. Bank Stadium. That makes sense when you consider Restore’s goal of reviving downtown Minneapolis’ restaurant scene by way of its permanent residents rather than by pandering to expense account-flaunting execs. Speaking of big money, Restore’s next move is reportedly the return of (wait for it) Vincent A Restaurant.

Chloe by Vincent, 700 S. Third St., Minneapolis,