The hottest restaurant opening of the year so far isn't in Minneapolis or St. Paul, but in the tony lakeside 'burb of Wayzata. Here's what you should know about Gavin Kaysen's Bellecour:
1. The space is grand, but intimate
Bellecour’s mission is to serve straightforward, classic French cooking inspired by some of the great chefs of France, including Kaysen's friends and mentors Daniel Boulud and Paul Bocuse.
Naturally, such an endeavor requires a grand dining room. While lovely and very shiny, the room is elegant without feeling overly pretentious. The much-anticipated boulangerie by famous local pastry chef Diane Yang graces the front of the space and is hardly larger than a powder room. Every detail is so intentionally placed, it’s almost like standing in a doll house. The few tables available will be no doubt highly coveted.
The remainder of the restaurant space is broken down into four other rooms, including a relatively small bar area, two dining rooms (plus a patio), and a chef’s table overlooking the stately open kitchen.
Exposed wooden beams from the previous Blue Point space give the bar an approachable, almost casual boathouse effect. You can just see the denizens of Wayzata clutching their French 75s in pastel shorts and Izods, straight off the yacht.
Summer in Wayzata is sure to be a scene.
2. There is a beautiful, painted wallpaper panel
It's on the east wall in the "Garden Room" with a monkey chilling on a flower at the top. (Oh hey, Instagram!) That monkey is gonna need a name.
3. If you do nothing else, rush right over and buy the boulangerie’s version of kouign-amann
Typically, a bread dough with layers of butter and sugar folded in, the kouign amann here is a little different. The dough is sliced, twisted, and baked, so each one resembles a corkscrewed breadstick that’s been given the cinnamon toast treatment. It’s 100 percent impossible not to devour every single one, and then the crumbs, and then lick the bag. Buy two.
4. Gavin Kaysen seems preternaturally calm
When I spoke to the chef on the eve of his second restaurant opening, he was sipping iced water from a deli container whilst leaning cooly against a stool. I asked him if he was getting any sleep, and he just shrugged. “Whatever, it’s the chef’s 15." Meaning, he’ll shed 15 pounds in the coming weeks, and it’s officially not a big deal. He recently led his culinary team to the gold medal of the Bocouse d'Or, the Olympics of cooking. It's a really big deal, meaning Kaysen is a master chef. Masters never let you see them sweat.
5. There is a $155 seafood tower that serves four to six people.
How do you make an impression? Stack shiny saucers of ice upon one another until they all but reach the ceiling, then crown it with a whole lobster. Beneath the lobster, layer oysters, shrimp, clams, mussels, and more lobster. Everyone at the table gets to feast on these sea creatures in between sips of champagne, and it's a surefire way to impress upon your dining companions that this gathering is a meaningful one.
6. Reservations are booked a couple months out, unless you want to dine late
Which does not mean you shouldn't head over anyway. Kaysen says they'll be serving little 187 ml individual bottles of bubbly with an elegant metal straw in the bakery, and just like at Spoon and Stable, the bar will be first come, first served.
Besides, I'm a firm believer that if you are the kind of cool person willing to walk into a busy restaurant without a reservation, and you are willing to be patient and kind, sometimes a table will open, just like magic. And if not, hang out in the bar, get a glass of Champagne, and watch the world go by.
There are far worse ways to spend a Saturday night.
739 Lake St. E., Wayzata