289 E. Fifth St.
Saint Paul Minnesota 55101United States
Chef Lenny Russo's new incarnation of Heartland in Lowertown is like Disneyland for foodie locavores.
High-end gastronomy meets sustainable-food ethics at chef Lenny Russo's new incarnation of Heartland in a gargantuan former warehouse in Saint Paul's Lowertown. Russo, who was nominated for the 2010 James Beard award, offers a distinctive style that he calls Midwestern Regional Cuisine. That means your protein will be bison and duck, lamb and goat, but your preparation will be charcuterie or served with a glace de viande, and your entree will be accompanied by mushrooms and Midwest garden staples.Heartland is actually more than just a restaurant. Step inside the Market House building, and you'll feel a bit like you're in an indoor food bazaar. In addition to the dining room, there's a bar with an abbreviated menu, special banquet rooms and chef's tables (where you can reserve a private meal served by Russo himself), and in late 2010, there will be a Farm Direct Market that sells many of the fine local and organic ingredients that Russo uses in his dishes, along with fresh-baked breads and pastries and Heartland-brand food products such as soups and jellies. For dinner, Heartland offers two prix fixe options, a fauna ($40) and a flora ($30) offering. Or you can order a la carte from a selection of side plates ($8), small plates ($10 to $14) and large plates ($19 to $32). The menu changes weekly, even daily, as Russo takes advantage of whatever is in season and available from local farms. In winter, Russo displays his mastery of preserving or canning vegetables and fruits and curing meats. Whatever you order, it is sure to be a sophisticated presentation worthy of "Top Chef."