Kincaid’s (Bloomington) – Not Very Good

Kincaid’s in Bloomington is a lively restaurant serving OK food. The prices are downtown steak house levels, the décor is downtown, but this restaurant is located in an office building in Bloomington, there to cater to the business crowd in the building and the surrounding neighborhood to avoid the traffic downtown, which was why we were there.

The menu is heavily focused on steaks, with numerous cuts and sizes. On my latest visit I was more interested in a lighter meal and when the server informed the table that one of the special for the evening was Halibut Cheeks, I was excited. I think the cheeks on most animals and fish are the best part so I was keen to give it a try. I was a little hesitant when he mentioned they were rolled in Asiago and Parmesan cheeses and fried, but decided to order anyway. For my appetizer I chose the lobster bisque.

The bisque arrived for assembly. A bowl was placed in front to me, which contained a smidgen of diced lobster meat. The server slowly poured the bisque around the diced lobster. It was extremely thick and full of cream…this was not a dieter’s rendition of a classic dish. Overall the bisque had a decent flavor, but the cream overwhelmed the other flavors and the lobster meat was almost flavorless.

The Halibut cheeks arrived, served with succotash and grilled asparagus. This was a good sized portion, five fried cheeks. The flavor and texture of the cheek meat was great and the kitchen prepared the doneness perfectly. I was not that fond of the cheese crust, it fought the inherent sweetness of the cheeks. The sides were not good at all. The succotash should have contained bright flavors given the time of year, but the vegetables were tasteless, and the asparagus were worse. The kitchen did not trim the bottom nor cook them sufficiently so they were borderline inedible. I give a very good to the cheeks and a bad job to the sides.

The dessert menu was presented and the server was recommending the bread pudding. After receiving and tasting it, the kitchen must have told the staff to push it. It was horrible. Here is a recommendation to all servers…if you need to apologize to the guest while pouring the sauce on a dish, remove the dish. The server apologized about the thickness of the bourbon sauce, why he did not remove it altogether is a mystery. A bigger mystery is why they served the bread pudding at all. It was a slab of bread, burnt on the bottom with a little ice cream on top and an overly thick bourbon sauce. I had two bites and decided it was not worth the calories.

Overall, Kincaid’s is trying to be a high end steak house that does not produce the product commensurate with the prices. The food was fair at best, the kitchen sends out items that never should leave the kitchen but the staff is spot on in hawking the products.

Kincaid's Fish, Chop & Steak House on Urbanspoon

Colette’s (Bloomington) – Traditional French Cuisine in Sheraton Hotel

The former Sofitel hotel in Bloomington is now operating under the Sheraton banner and on a traffic-laden Thursday evening I decided to stay in, do some work and eat at Colette’s. Last January I spent a few nights at the Sofitel and enjoyed some of the preparations from the staff at Colette, while others fell flat, so I was a bit apprehensive when I entered the restaurant.

I was immediately seated and the staff quickly arrived, asked for my drink order and offered two varieties of bread, slices of sour dough and a multi-grain mini-roll. I asked for one of each. Both breads were cold but delicious, great flavors and texture.

I ordered the escargot for my appetizer and the Beef Bourguignon for an entrée with a side of asparagus. I was forewarned that the escargot would take 20 minutes, which was not an issue for me.

escargotThe escargot dish arrived ten minutes later, there were six escargot, each topped with parsley-garlic butter. They were scalding hot (a head’s up to others). My first bite brought déjà vu from my previous visit. The escargot were cooked perfectly, soft without being chewy, but the chef again shied away from any salt in the presentation. I added a pinch of salt to each and it elevated all of the flavors. What started as a bland dish, ended with great flavors.

BeefThe Beef Bourguignon arrived in its own cast iron pot. It contained three good sized pieces, smothered in a deep colored sauce, bacon, mushrooms and baby pearl onions. The first bite was fantastic. The meat was slowly braised for several hours, incredibly tender and absorbed a lot of the rich flavors from the wine sauce. The bacon added a high level of smokiness to the sauce and the onions were sweet, releasing all of their natural sugars. The asparagus were also prepared to create just a mild bite in texture. The Hollandaise sauce was a little mild and did not add anything to the dish. Overall it was a delicious entrée.

creme bruleeFor dessert I ordered the Crème Brulée, a large portion served in a deep bowl, versus the traditional flat ramekin, with a thin layer of torched sugar and a few berries. It was extremely smooth and not overly sweet, and when paired with the caramelized sugar created the perfect balance of sweetness.

Overall I was very pleased with this visit to Colette. As a restaurant within a hotel it delivers a delicious alternatives to guests; as a stand-alone option for Bloomington, Edina and Eden Prairie, it offers an excellent choice for a special dinner.

Colette Bar & Bistro on Urbanspoon