When Gavin Kaysen opened Spoon and Stable back in 2014, some of us skeptics wondered: Would the culinary wunderkind really be able to create something standout amongst a sea of Twin Cities talent? Would the adoration and the accolades keep pouring in after the novelty wore off? Today, when reservations to the now-famed Minneapolis restaurant are still hard to come by, the answer is a resounding yes.
Then Kaysen set his sights on Wayzata, teasing a French bistro-cum-bakery concept. The new questions on everyone’s minds: Could he lure gourmets out to the affluent if slightly sleepy second-ring suburb? Could he make magic again? The answer, once again: a resounding yes. Opening its doors this spring, Bellecour is a love letter of sorts. It’s Kaysen’s ode to Lyon, France, a place that has significantly impacted his career and influenced his singular success. It’s the hometown of heavy hitters Daniel Boulud and Paul Bocuse, both of whom the chef considers mentors and friends.
There’s a frenetic energy at Bellecour, a buzzing excitement brought in by the patrons. It’s because long before they’ve been seated or any dishes have arrived at their tables, they’ve reached this foregone conclusion: The food will be incredible, the service amazing, the experience envy-inducing. And they’re right. When asked which dishes are his personal favorites, Kaysen lists off a good portion of the menu: the escargot, the French onion soup, the roasted chicken, the pork loin, the shellfish platter, the crème brûlée. But he’s forgotten the perfectly prepared steak tartare, the house-smoked salmon, the foie gras terrine with port-wine gelée, and the to-die-for bouillabaisse. And while it may seem like a waste to fill up on bread, pastry chef Diane Yang’s creations are simply irresistible.
Unsurprisingly, everything at the bar is a cut above. The summit cocktail, a Moscow Mule kinsman, employs Hardy VSOP cognac, ginger, lime and cucumber, while the chouette 75 blends chamomile-infused Beefeater, herbes de Provence, lemon and bubbles. The Quatre Saisons beer, meanwhile, was created exclusively for Kaysen by local brewery Lakes & Legends; its hints of coriander, lemon and rosemary make it a prime partner for all kinds of cuisine.
The Bellecour experience needn’t be a multi-course culinary journey every visit. The bakery serves up everyday extravagances, and there are plans for brunch and lunch service. Whether you stop by to grab a pastry, cozy up to the bar for a quick tipple or dine at the six-person, in-kitchen chef’s table, one thing quickly becomes crystal clear: Gavin Kaysen has indeed done it again.