Saturday, October 17, 2015

Saint Dinette – St. Paul, MN



I’ll admit straight away – I’m biased. One of my top 5 restaurants in the Twin cities is the Strip Club (it’s a steak place, so don’t freak out and clear your browser history). Anything that owners Tim and J.D. do, I will back 100%. They opened up Saint Dinette - a new upscale casual restaurant in Lowertown St. Paul, down by the new CHS Ballpark. D.Rough and I had a free Friday night, so we popped in to check it out.

Obviously, it was busy, so we put our name on the list and went to stand near the bar. There’s an area specifically for this activity with a nice rail to put your drink/snacks on and hang out while you look at all the delicious food coming out of the kitchen. The bar snack menu is simple, but has some great things on it. We opted for the Chicharrones – basically pork rinds – and a couple of cocktails. I got the Orange Julio (a tequila-based version of an arrange Julius) and D.Rough got The Currant - some sort of delicious punch with a sprig of thyme resting on top.  The chicharrones aren’t like any other – they are covered in Cheeto dust. Yes, the addictive orange snack that turns your fingers orange. GET THESE THINGS. (The photo makes them look like chicken strips, but I assure you, they are pork rinds)

We got seated in the dining room quicker than expected, but we had already checked out the menu while cocktail-ing. The menu changes every few months, though they do keep a solid base of favorites on the list. The menu is quite unique in that it’s a list of really familiar, almost home-y dishes, but they’ve all been tweaked or given some sort of unusual ethnic treatment to kick them towards the awesome arena. For example, they have a fried bologna sandwich on the menu – but they add pork shoulder and some delicious cheese to it. The short rib comes with house-made sauerkraut, a house-made kielbasa link, and has a sour beer lacquer on it. Seriously, J.D. knows what he’s doing. We ordered a pop-over, grilled octopus, ricotta dumplings, the cheese burger, and some fries. We were going to share it, so it’s really not that much food.

The popover is a pretty impressive item. It’s REALLY large and comes with a beautiful rectangle of butter drizzled with bee pollen and something else. The pop-over itself is really quite good, but the butter and bee pollen kick it up a notch. Very good.

The grilled octopus was given a Mexican-style treatment, including some chorizo and black bean puree. This was really fantastic, and not too overpowering. We like grilled octopus a lot, so we were pretty happy with this dish.

The dumplings were a recommendation from our server. We even went with the larger order at her suggestion. These dumplings were the best thing of the night. Absolutely delicious cheesy puffs with a squash sauce. When we come back again, we might both be getting our own order of these. We wanted to cut them into tiny bites, so we could keep eating them, but eventually, they disappeared from our plate. 

The cheeseburger is somewhat controversial dish. I guess the owners think it’s just fine, but people are really raving about it, so we had to get it. It’s got some sort of magical champagne-cheese on it, and it truly is really good. I don’t usually go for burgers at nice places, but enough people raved about this one that we caved. Worth it, though! And the lightly pickled cucumbers were quite good, as well. The fries were house –made crinkle-cut fries and were delicious. We were glad they didn’t try to do much fancy to these – there were plenty of them, so we were glad we got these. 

The dining room looks empty, but it's only because we were there late and it was close to closing time. We like to enjoy our culinary adventures and take our time. When we got there, there was a large line to dine here.
Saint Dinette is really one of the best new restaurants we’ve been to recently. It’s pretty close to home, so I have a feeling we’re going to find ourselves there fairly regularly. And we’re looking forward to it!!

Top 5 things about Saint Dinette
1. Ricotta Dumplings
2. Chicharrones
3. Cheeseburger
4. Menu isn't too large, but has things on it you'll recognize, making the choice easier
5.Grilled Octopus

Bottom 5 things
1. Parking was a pain, but we realized too late that it was an Art Crawl in Lowertown
2. No reservations, and you'll likely have to wait, but it will be worth it
3. All of the cocktails have bitters (Tim is a mixology wizard), so order accordingly - I realize that's totally MY issue, not a fault of the restaurant, it's just hard to find anything to complain about here
4. Dammit. There's nothing else to complain about
5. See #4


1 comment:

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