K and I met for the very first time at Heidi’s (their first incarnation) on a Friday the 13th. Twenty-two months (to the day), one fire and one wedding later, we were privileged to dine at Heidi’s 2.0 and I can honestly say it was flawless.
I was skeptical about the new Lyn-Lake location. Whenever I’d been to the coffee shop that was previously housed in the space, it was next to impossible to find parking nearby. That’s fine when the weather is nice, but we have about a billion days of freezing cold wintry snow so it’s not ideal in the winter, especially when you’re wearing your fancy pants and pretty shoes to a restaurant. Heidi’s has very reasonably priced valet service. Problem solved.
The space is nothing like a former coffee shop. It’s beautiful and warm and artsy and welcoming. It’s intimate, but not crowded. The kitchen is encased in glass and you can see everyone hard at work and concentrating their culinary energies on your food.
The personable Kyle Bille (with whom we’re acquainted) runs the front of the house and made sure everything ran smoothly the entire night. Bille was clearly amped that Heidi’s 2.0 was in business and his enthusiasm was infectious. Heidi Woodman (with whom we’re also acquainted) made the rounds through the restaurant and stopped and chatted with every table. Whether you’d met them previously or not, that kind of personal attention makes you feel like part of the Heidi’s family and just adds to the experience.
Heidi’s 2.0 is more upscale than the original Heidi’s, but it’s still relaxed. The “bread lady” came around with an assortment of five breads. She and her silver bread tongs took the “bread basket” concept to the next level. We tried the flax potato bread, the whole wheat sourdough and a breadstick made of chestnut flour. Each was hearty and interesting, but we didn’t want to fill up on bread!
We started with two appetizers — the Foie Two Ways and the Shefzilla Surprise (which changes). The foie was really for K who is a foie lover. I’ll eat it in a more distilled state like in a mousse, but as a big ol’ slab of fried fatty liver, I don’t love it. K loved both the foie terrine and the pan seared foie. I mostly enjoyed the sense of humor it took to make a sauce with Manischewitz. The Shefzilla Surprise that evening was delivered concealed under a silver dome. When the server lifted the dome, a cloud of Christmas Eve church incense-smelling smoke rose to the ceiling and revealed smoked salmon with dill ice cream. The salmon was buttery and the ice cream was a nice play on the traditional salmon/cream cheese pairing. The dill in the cream was very subtle and it was delicious.
K ordered the lamb shank for an entrée and I had the barramundi. K’s lamb shank was perfectly cooked and fall-off-the-bone tender. The jasmine rice that accompanied it was toasty and scented with cardamom. It was tinged with Indian flavors and was the perfect comfort food for a winter’s night. The barramundi ranks in the top three fish dishes I’ve eaten in my entire life. The fish was delicate, but not prissy — still very meaty and not at all “fishy.” It was topped with mild caramelized onions and next to it was pickled eggplant with a lobster sauce so sweet and unique I was very tempted to lick it off the plate. The sweet lobster brought out the piquant eggplant pickle and vice versa. I don’t know how it worked (it shouldn’t have, in theory), but those flavors were all in love with each other.
We asked Heidi, the dessert maestro herself, for dessert recommendations and she nudged us towards the frozen yuzu and sesame souffle and the caramelized pineapple Napoleon. The pineapple Napoleon was sweet and crispy and the bananas helped tone down the sweetness a bit. It was delicious. But our favorite was definitely the yuzu souffle with the sesame tuille. The yuzu was tart and frozen in an almost un-frozen way (this only makes sense if you eat it, sorry). The sesame tuille was nutty and crispy and chewy. Perfect and I never would have thought to put sesame in dessert.
Fantastic job Heidi’s crew. Impeccable really. We’re already plotting our next visits and tackling the tasting menu. K mentioned that Heidi’s 2.0 is truly a neighborhood gem and I’d expand that to a Twin Cities gem. Get there and get there soon.