Best Of

Tongue in Cheek

Lately a number of historic buildings are suddenly being bought up by young restaurateurs in Payne-Phalen, a strip on St. Paul’s east side. “I definitely think there’s a bit of a renaissance happening here,” says Leonard Anderson, the talented chef behind the neighborhood’s latest addition, Tongue in Cheek. Anderson owns and runs the eclectic, meat-centered eatery with his wife Ashleigh Newman and fellow W.A. Frost alumnus Ryan Huesby. “It’s cheaper over here,” says Anderson. “But we just genuinely like it. We want to bring something new to this community.” They’ve certainly succeeded in that regard. For one thing, they have an entire 6-course vegetarian tasting menu (plus one for carnivores) in which Anderson works his way from two-bite super-clean combinations like compressed watermelon with cave-aged AmaBlu cheese from Fairbault, to house-made gnocchi with thinly split, slightly caramelized string beans, shallots, soy, and a subtle mascarpone foam. Clearly, Anderson enjoys having room to play on the tasting menus as well as with the regular dinner line-up, which is divided into one to two-bite “teasers” (a la the microplates at the Rookery), a few plates designed for sharing, more standard entree-sized dishes; and three desserts. Overall, Tongue in Cheek shows savvy, creativity, and respect for its diverse audience both in price point and in its food and drink offerings.