Making the Rounds

Don't let anyone say that St. Paul isn't spinning. Take a twirl atop the Radisson Hotel's Carousel Restaurant (11 E. Kellogg Blvd., 292-0408), our capital city's only roof-top dining hot spot and the metropolitan area's premier revolving cafe.

This Rat Packy establishment dates from 1965, when the Sound of Music played in movie theaters, Canada's flag became the bold red and white maple leaf, and President Johnson launched the Great Society. Back then it was known as Le Caroussel and stood under the Hilton flag. Conrad Hilton, who was married to Zsa Zsa Gabor, ran his dominion with Las Vegas panache: lots of crushed velvet wallpaper, plush carpets, and French provincial furnishings for days. The 22nd floor view would have made sister Eva exclaim, "I just adore a penthouse view!"

In the 1970s, Le Caroussel became the Carousel, ushering forward a palais de disco renovation complete with smoked glass, brown everything, and ultra suede highlights. Halston and Liza could have drank vodka, vodka, vodka here.

Nowadays the restaurant is Carlson-hotel safe, more Ridgedale than the Galleria. Still, the view matters most. The Cathedral, City Hall, great Mississippi, and 1st Bank marquee unfold slowly as the revolving carousel circles effortlessly patrons around the town.

Dinners veer toward expense-account pricey. But the Eleanor Ostman-style luncheon buffet is a bargain at $10 a head. If you really want to set your head spinning, swing in for cocktails before the Ordway, Club Metro, or dinner at the St. Paul Grill. But don't let the Carousel become the Tilt-a-Whirl.

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