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Indulge your vices at 510 Groveland: 5 things to know about P.S. Steak

The luxe space and tableside baked Alaska are sure to wow you.

The luxe space and tableside baked Alaska are sure to wow you. Sarah Chandler

La Belle Vie, a “paragon of fine dining” in the Twin Cities, closed in 2015.

But its storied space at 510 Groveland Ave. in Minneapolis had a rebirth of sorts last month, when it reopened as a meat- and seafood-forward restaurant and lounge that offers a spirited, sumptuous antidote to the posh yet predictable steakhouses you’ll find in any major American city.

Here are five things to know before you go.

5. Seeking explicit permission to indulge your (legal) vices? Come hither.

Ensconced in a red velvet banquette, surrounded by gilt mirrors, taxidermy, and Gothic Victorian art and ephemera hung on the dark chocolate walls, I couldn’t help notice that the sheer amount of flesh in the room evoked the morally hazy decadence of an earlier age. Debauchery is in the details: Single malt Scotch is swilled; mink coats and fox stoles are flounced and flaunted; $400 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon are uncorked. (If you’ve a taste for American reds, you’re in business here.)

Gold spike heels glitter dangerously. Glistening orbs of décolletage quiver. Yes, climate change may be raging outside—and you probably shouldn’t eat steak every night—but this dining room is made for fantasy. You’re granted permission to be bad, at least for now: Nibble steak tartare, sip a Harvey Wallbanger, send a smoldering glance at the blonde in the lipstick-red leather jacket perched at the bar. One gets the feeling that what happens at P.S. stays at P.S.

Strip steak

Strip steak Sarah Chandler

4. Is That a Dagger Which You See Before You?

Might your idea of a good night out involve cutting into a whole stuffed pheasant or a bloody hunk of tenderloin with a dagger straight out of Macbeth? Rarely have we seen a steak knife more suited to hand-to-hand combat. You’re in the right place.

3. It’s bloody gorgeous.

As you saunter into the elegant foyer of the legendary building, don’t be surprised if you experience love at first sight—or déjà vu. The gleaming marble, intricate plasterwork, and crystal chandeliers from La Belle Vie’s lauded 17-year run are blissfully intact. You’re advised to arrive a half-hour early before your reservation (and yes, you should make a reservation) to sip an aperitif in the stunner of a lounge. Its Gatsby-esque glamour is especially thrilling on a nine-below-zero February night.

Bartenders are friendly, knowledgeable, and patient, and the drinks are not so aspirational that you can’t enjoy drinking them as much as you do reading them off the menu. (In my case, the pineapple daiquiri was a winter-banishing godsend; ask to omit the mezcal if you’re not a fan of the smoky elixir.) As you proceed into the further reaches of the dining room, the mood turns mysterious and masculine, a cross between a 19th-century hunting lodge and a quirky Victorian library.

Parsnips

Parsnips Sarah Chandler

2. It’s also bloody expensive.

In the age of fast-casual—surely one of the most dispiriting expressions coined in the 21st century—isn’t it nice to have somewhere to go in Minnesota where you can wear your Louboutins or your fancy jacket? (Neither are required, nor out of place.) Glamour has a price: Expect to pay upward of $40 for a steak, and $95 to $245 for a “seafood tower” of oysters, tuna, scallops, langoustines, and shrimp.

While a Baked Alaska was sized appropriately for its $18 price tag, it proved somewhat of an oxymoron: The crunchy, golden, oven-kissed dome of meringue we were expecting turned out to be a gooey French meringue scorched with love-it-or-hate-it Green Chartreuse, a French medicinal herbal liqueur. (The undeniably cool tableside presentation almost saved the charred marshmallow taste.) On the other hand, a $13 cocktail was worth the price to people-watch and play “Name That Mammal” with the fur coats at the swanky bar.

1. So far, the atmosphere outshines the food.

Our first course, a heavenly crab avocado toast on buttery brioche, sated a craving I didn’t know I had—and suggested the deft touch and boundless culinary promise you’d expect from La Belle Vie alum Mike DeCamp.

But as further courses arrived, they seemed lackluster given the price point. We imagined the Strip Steak “Prime Rib” would be slow-cooked, succulent, and medium rare, but it arrived too raw to be tender and lacked flavor. Scallops were tasty but overdone and slightly rubbery, not the pillowy morsels of heaven we hoped for. Aligot potatoes with savory Gruyere were a welcome surprise among the sides and spot-on for flavor, but they were over-whipped into starchy defeat, and unevenly cooked maple-glazed parsnips sat lifelessly under a cumbersome glob of mascarpone—an indulgent accoutrement rather than an integrated part of the dish.

An off night? First-month jitters? Considering the caliber of the kitchen talent, we remain optimistic—and we’ll be back.

Scallops

Scallops Sarah Chandler