New Restaurant Review: Mr. Paul’s Supper Club

Tommy Begnaud and cocktail wizard Nick Kosevich playfully plate up the best of New Orleans
The small mussels plate at Mr. Paul's Supper Club
The small mussels plate at Mr. Paul’s Supper Club

Photo by Terry Brennan

No disrespect to New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles—but to me, the greatest American city is New Orleans. It’s the birthplace of jazz, the Sazerac cocktail, and the po’ boy sandwich. There’s an energy, a vibe, a sense that an adventure is hiding behind every wrought iron–gilded balcony. Opening a New Orleans-inspired restaurant outside of Louisiana is fraught with danger, though; it would be easy to make it a cartoonish, kitschy French Quarter rip-off complete with a carousel bar.

Cocktail wizard Nick Kosevich and chef Tommy Begnaud
Cocktail wizard Nick Kosevich and chef Tommy Begnaud

Photo by Terry Brennan

Mr. Paul’s Supper Club is not that, and that electric New Orleans sense is its greatest success. It’s loud. It’s unpredictable. And it’s so much fun you can’t wait to come back. How did chef Tommy Begnaud and cocktail wizard Nick Kosevich do it? Begnaud channeled childhood visits to his grandfather, (Mr.) Paul, in Louisiana. You’ll see pieces from the elder Begnaud’s collection smartly integrated in a design that somehow makes you forget you’re at 50th & France in Edina.

The lobster gnocchi seafood dish
The lobster gnocchi seafood dish

Photo by Terry Brennan

Even on a Wednesday night, we could feel the energy created by a combination of an experienced staff clearly allowed to show their personalities and a room designed for conversation and excitement. Surrounding the round tables with banquettes that open to the rest of the room—rather than closing groups off—is a subtle touch that makes a difference and sends a message. You’re not just at Mr. Paul’s to eat. You’re part of the design; you’re part of the fun.

The food is a crazy blend of Cajun and Creole classics and Minnesota supper-club favorites. Get a sirloin steak or a filet mignon—because you’re in Edina, after all. Our $49 filet was incredibly tender and meaty with the perfect amount of char on the crust. It has to be, at that price point.

Photo by Terry Brennan

It would be easy to assemble a meal to share just from the appetizers. The relish tray is an homage to your grandma’s favorite small-town dive, with a collection of pickled vegetables and spreads, but it’s the incredibly light, eggy, and airy popovers that launch this decadent treat over the top. On paper, pairing that with a platter of chicken-fried Boudin balls might seem strange, but anything goes at Mr. Paul’s. This Cajun treat is made up of rice, pork, and cheese, served with a punchy remoulade sauce. It’s one of the great bar snacks in the Twin Cities right now and just $14.

The back bar
The back bar

Photo by Terry Brennan

The duck and andouille gumbo ($14) is truly fantastic with its rich, hearty, bold, spicy flavor explosion. And yes, that is a dollop of potato salad on top, which perfectly cuts through the meaty flavors beneath. We loved the crawfish gratin ($15) with its sweet Louisiana crustacean that tastes somewhere between a shrimp and a crab, blended into an over-the-top celebration of Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses with heavy cream and butter.

Beignets dessert with an NO2 espresso martini
Beignets dessert with an NO2 espresso martini

Photo by Terry Brennan

The gentle flavor of halibut is a perfect companion for a Creole-style bourride: a classic French soup with lots of saffron and fennel. Here, the bourride is a thin layer with a touch of heat and a bunch of seafood—shrimp, mussels, and a filet of halibut. It’s a surprisingly elegant dish, light and filling at the same time ($43).

As for the drinks: Fasten your seatbelt. Much like the bartenders in New Orleans who pioneered such drinks as the Ramos Gin Fizz and the Hurricane, Kosevich has been a pioneer of craft cocktails dating to his days at Town Talk Diner, where he and Begnaud worked together. The Hurricane and Supper Club Sazerac are both musts; a glitter-dunked cherry tops the former, and “Mr. Paul’s Miracle Cocktail Enhancer’’ is the mysterious magic inside the latter.

A po’ boy sandwich with a hurricane cocktail
A po’ boy sandwich with a hurricane cocktail

Photo by Terry Brennan

Lunch brings the same fun vibe in a po’ boy shop with a separate entrance at the rear of Mr. Paul’s, featuring enormous fried oysters and shrimp sandwiches with extremely friendly service. The po’ boy shop converts into a cocktail lab for Kosevich’s periodic seven-course “cocktail circus” and food pairing for 10 (reservations required).

A spritz of this, a dash of that, a bartender yelling out greetings to some regulars, and an owner bringing a handful of helium balloons to a random table—this is what going out is supposed to be like. I wouldn’t have guessed 50th & France would be the epicenter of unexpected joy at a Cajun-inspired supper club, but I sure am delighted it is.

Mr. Paul’s Supper Club

3917 Market St., Edina,
612-259-8614,
mrpaulssuppserclub.com

Reservations
Recommended for dinner, walk-ins at the bar as well as Po’ Boys and Jams

Hours
Tuesday-Sunday, 4-10 p.m.
Po’ Boys and Jams: Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

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