St. Paul, MN 55102
- Sun, Sat 10am-2pm, Sun 5pm-9pm, Tue-Fri 11am-2pm, Tue-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm
- All Major Credit Cards
- Patio/Sidewalk Dining
- Brunch, Dinner, Lunch
- Full bar
- Recommended, Accepted
- Garage, Meters, Valet
City Pages' Description
St. Paul chef Russell Klein (formerly of W.A. Frost) and his wife, Desta (who worked as a banquet captain at Frost), operate the classiest restaurant in downtown St. Paul. Their brasserie, in the charming Hamm Building in what was once the home of A Rebours, is named after an American wine made in the Bordeaux tradition, which seems an accurate reflection of the restaurant's cooking. Klein offers French classics--cassoulet, roast chicken, and steak frites--and a changing list of seasonally inspired American fare (past favorites have included chestnut-stuffed quail to venison loin served with a mulled-wine poached pear). The menu features a nice mix of gourmet fare (a two-bite mushroom ganache amusement, for example) and comfort food (chicken soup with matzo balls). Oh, and there's a cheese cart. If that's not a sign of class, what is?
In warm weather, the restaurant operates a sidewalk crepe stand on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
This St. Paul newcomer hasn't yet received the accolades of some of our favorite French restaurants, such as Vincent and Cave Vin, though it's certainly deserving. Meritage offers all the Gallic standards, from steak frites to omelet du jour, and while the cassoulet and French onion soup might not have the looks of Carla Bruni, one bite proves they have all the intrigue. The... More >>
This St. Paul newcomer hasn't yet received the accolades of some of our favorite French restaurants, such as Vincent and Cave Vin, though it's certainly deserving. Meritage offers all the Gallic standards, from steak frites to omelet du jour, and while the cassoulet and French onion soup might not have the looks of Carla Bruni, one bite proves they have all the intrigue. The restaurant's point of distinction is that chef Russell Klein (a French-trained New Yorker who learned from Jacques Pepin and cut his teeth at Manhattan's grande dame of French cooking, La Caravelle) brings an American sensibility to classic Escoffier style. That means he honors tradition by rolling out the cheese cart, but also gets creative with striped bass and chestnut-stuffed quail. The dining room's design, though, is what really transports across the Atlantic. The historic Hamm Building feels like a Parisian brasserie, with its grand picture windows, white tile floor, and French pop music on the stereo.
Tips from foursquare
The cassoule is absolutely superb and subtle. As close to French as they come in our neck of the woods.
The shrimp cocktail, made with wild-caught Pacific shrimp, is the best in town, hands down.
Try the oysters. The oyster bar is bringing in some real beauties. Imagine flavors that evoke cucumber, briny-salty air, and copper on the tongue.—Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, February 2011
Voted top ten chicken wings! The result is an intensely chickeny chicken wing with a distinctly bacony flavor that yields the bone with the gentlest nudge.
The seared Minnesota foie gras with spiced cider reduction is a home run -- yes, it's an $18 appetizer, but it's $36 delicious.
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Reviews and News
A Bitter Winter Meritage $12 Only five shopping days left, and you know what that means: cocktails! That's right, step away from the picked-over... More on Meritage »
As a countdown to the Best of the Twin Cities 2014, coming April 16, the Hot Dish is serving up 100 of our favorite local dishes.There are few... More on Meritage »
At the first Oysterfest in 2011, attendees were either crammed into Meritage or part of the spillover crowd milling about on the sidewalk. Last... More on Meritage »
Best Of Awards
Like Catherine Deneuve, Meritage has a French elegance that only seems to grow more alluring with... More on Best French Restaurant »
Though a perennial favorite for best French restaurant, Meritage features dishes (such as moules... More on Best French Restaurant »
Do you think the French call a chaste kiss "le Americain smoochez?" Probably not. We'll... More on Best Restaurant for Romance »
Reading Meritage's wine list is like taking a wine mini-course. It's got colored maps and history and... More on Best Wine List »
Salty, sweet, buttery, briny, chewy, gooey, soft—there are many ways to describe a good oyster, but... More on Best French Restaurant »
Suggest a French restaurant for dinner and you run the risk of being labeled as le snob. Unless that... More on BEST FRENCH RESTAURANT »
What's the best way to start your meal at Meritage, the cute brasserie in downtown St. Paul that looks... More on Best French Restaurant »
This St. Paul newcomer hasn't yet received the accolades of some of our favorite French restaurants,... More on BEST FRENCH RESTAURANT »