Dumplings – Ratatouille, Ricotta, Oregano
Scotch Egg – Boudin Blanc, Savora Mustard
Drop Biscuit – Buttermilk, Maple Butter
Churros – Salt Cod, Tartar Sauce
Cheeseburger – American Cheese, Pickles
Hash Browns – Seasoned Sour Cream, Caviar
Bologna – American Cheese, Pickles
Cold Brew Coffee
Flapjacks – Sauce Chomeur, Vanilla Butter
Madelines – Graham, Key Lime, Whipped Cream
Owned and operated by Tim Niver, the brains also behind Mucci’s Italian and Minneapolis’ Meyvn, it was shortly after brunch transitioned to dinner that three guests sat down inside Saint Dinette, a self described gathering place celebrating “flavors found from the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, through the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi, and to the jungle coast south of the border” from the locally born hands of Executive Chef Adam Eaton.
Open now for just over three years in Lowertown, a second floor location overlooking the local farmer’s market and in close proximity to Xcel Energy Center giving the kitchen access to both fresh Produce and new patrons throughout much of the year, it was during an off-hour that the Restaurant was found quiet save for overhead music, a friendly male server seemingly taking it upon himself to make sure the experience was still fun both by way of his exuberance and an obvious love for Saint Dinette’s Food.
Minimally decorated as industrial-chic with high ceilings, white lengths of fabric and comfortable plastic chairs softening concrete and brick, it was after some debate that a decision was made to dine in order deferred to the kitchen, a total of nine items brought forth usually two or three at a time over the course of 90 minutes and beginning with a half-order of Ricotta Gnocchi offering bites of creaminess amidst fresh Tomato Broth, Onions and Seasonal Squash rife with Herbs.
Told up-front that one member of the party was a “Meat and Potatoes” sort, his willingness to step out of that comfort zone benefiting everyone including himself as teeth sunk into a beautiful Scotch Egg with its vibrant yellow Yolk dusted in Paprika and surrounded by housemade Sausage, it was after all got a third of Eaton’s faultless Drop Biscuit slathered in Maple Butter that flavors blossomed even further, a dish described as “Churros” in reality featuring Fish Sticks with a Choux-like exterior stuffed with imported Brandade or Baccalà.
Continuing next with two Sandwiches, the homemade Bun and melty American Cheese attesting to a Restaurant not interested in doing things the easy way when better is possible, it seems safe to assume that rumors of Eaton’s hand-ground Burger being one of Saint Paul’s best are factual even as grilled “Bologna” stole the spotlight thanks to its unmistakable texture but subtle nuances that quickly silence any discussion of Oscar Meyer.
Rounding out savories with square Latkes served alongside Sour Cream topped in low-end Caviar, teensy Fish Eggs not detracting from the plate’s appeal as flavors hinted of Taramosalata when spread, it was with Cold Brew in hand that Dessert soon arrived, a stack of four fluffy Pancakes riffing on Quebec’s Poor-man’s Pudding expectedly rich with Butter and Maple Syrup while Madelines fresh from the pan would make Proust smile whether eaten on their own or dipped in deconstructed Key Lime Pie offered via Mason Jar.