Heyday (MSP) – Some Great Dishes

A colleague of mine was in town and we decided to visit Heyday. This was my second visit and once again it was a fantastic evening filled with great food and excellent service. Similar to my first visit, there were several spectacular presentations and a couple that fell flat.

The service from start to finish was perfect. It was early on a Monday evening and before we decided on the courses, we were engaged with the server, not only on Heyday’s menu, but other restaurants. She was full of knowledge, offered suggestions, was incredibly friendly and over the course of the meal was spot on in every aspect of the meal.

We decided to split a few dishes. For the “I” course we ordered the Chicken Liver Tart that is served with toasted shallot, onion jam, and pickled vegetables. When it arrived the server also brought a portion of the Chilled Blue Mussels since she recommended it and thought we would really like to try it. The Tart was one of the best renditions I have eaten. The mousse was deep in flavor and paired perfectly with the pickled vegetables and the buttery crust. The mussels were served under a “dome” of frozen yogurt, with pickled cucumber, and dill, and unfortunately I disagree with the server. I did not like this dish. The scant four mussels were the epitome of a needle in a haystack in this over-constructed presentation. The tanginess of the yogurt plus the frozen gel overwhelmed the mussels.

In “II” we ordered the Poached Bone-in Skate with black truffle, salsify, and hazelnut and Rabbit Royale grilled leg, ham, carrots. The skate was over the top fantastic, moist, flavorful and worked great with the various textures and flavors of all of the toppings. It is served “bone-in” and takes no effort in removing the meat, just scrape along the bone; it is well worth the minimal effort. The rabbit was not as expected, but was very good. The “leg” was actually the meat from the leg that was removed and re-constituted into two small cylinders; one was encased in smoked meat. The flavor was deep and rich, and worked well with the accompaniments.

The “III” selection brought two outstanding dishes to the table. The Duck Breast is served with endive, pumpkin, and granola and consisted of two small sections of meat. They were very different in texture. One of the pieces was incredibly chewy and tough and the other was delightfully tender. They were both perfectly cooked to maintain a deep richness and the accompanying vegetables and textures were wonderful. The hit of the evening was the Spiced Braised Lamb, served with almond-potato puree, and a grilled green onion. It is spiced, not spicy, and the lamb was fantastic, great flavor, moist, tender and the almond-potato puree was a perfect complement. The single green onion delivered a mild pickled flavor and a wonderful crunchiness.

How can you resist a dessert called “Fifty Shades of Hay”? This is as close as I will get to either the book or the movie. It was 50 shades of disappointment. A scoop of ice cream that included soaking hay in the cream (yes there is a bale of hay in the basement) is served with meringue, frozen grapefruit and an array of crumbled items. The dark colored meringue was the best part. If you take a spoonful of the various items along with a little scoop of the ice cream it is not bad, but this is an overly complex textural dessert versus a flavorful dessert. It indicates the kitchen is versed in various techniques, but it fell flat as a great ending to a great meal.

Sometimes the technique is justified when the end product is exceptional. For many dishes it worked perfectly, but for others it did not. I cannot wait to return to Heyday and sample some of the chefs’ other creative cuisine.

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