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[MSP] Heartland Wine Bar

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Not very long ago, the Star Tribune reviewed Heartland, and gave it high marks and high praise. Deservedly so.

As much as I love the restaurant, I'm also a huge fan of the wine bar next door. There's a separate entrance, but if you walk into the restaurant by mistake, you can access the wine bar through an internal corridor.

The food quality and attention to detail is the same in both places. The wine bar menu does not feature the prix fixe options of the restaurant. Everything in the wine bar has been less than $20 on each visit, with the majority of items even under $15. The menu is divided into cheese, soup and salad, charcuterie, and entrees (or what goes for entrees), and desserts. Portion sizes can be similar between charcuterie and entrees depending on what you order.

An amuse and bread are served in addition to the menu items. Bread type changes frequently. I think in the restaurant, patrons may actually get a choice of bread. In the bar, everyone gets the bread of the day.

I've enjoyed evertyhing, but right now recall a delicious sweet corn soup, ribs, leek-crusted whitefish, bison, prosciutto with a watermelon fennel salad. Desserts are excellent and have improved since the last time I've had them at the restaurant.

Wine is attractively priced. There are about 20 totals wines by the glass that include bubbles, white, red, rose (on occasion), and dessert. Most glass prices ar $7 or $8, and bottle prices hover between $30 and $45. I assume, if one wanted, wine could be ordered from the restaurant's full list. There is also a good beer list.

Service is okay. On weekends, two people try to accommodate the 16 seats at tables plus additional 8 or so seats at the bar. On weeknights, there may just be one person.

For the comments made about Heartland being more of a special occasion restaurant than a neighborhood restaurant, the wine bar is helping to bring in customers more attracted to the latter, while the restaurant appeals to a variety of customers. Love having it in my neighborhood.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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Melissa & I had dinner in the wine bar 2-3 weeks ago. It was very good, and they had an excellent cider from Normandie. The standout dish was bread soup with heirloom tomatoes.

--- Lee


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