My friend Gavin Kaysen’s latest project, Bellecour, is an absolute stunner. The award-winning chef’s return to the Twin Cities in 2014 to open Spoon and Stable came with unprecedented buzz—a few years later and it’s still near impossible to score prime time reservations—but the announcement of Bellecour sent diners into a frenzy, with more than 1,000 people claiming a table on the first day reservations were available. It’s not hype or a PR stunt that landed it on every list of most anticipated restaurant openings in the country last spring, chef Kaysen and his team are incredibly talented and dedicated to their craft. The expectations were high, and they nailed it.
Located in Wayzata near Lake Minnetonka, Bellecour is a French bistro inside and out. Kaysen famously honed his skills under chef Daniel Boulud and calls Paul Bocuse a dear friend, so it’s only natural the restaurant’s menu, atmosphere and moniker—Bellecour refers to the town center of Lyon, France—speaks to his mentors and culinary inspiration. French food and technique is in his DNA.
Bellecour is one part bakery, one part restaurant, both sophisticated yet demure. Before happy hour, you can grab sandwiches, loaves, coffee and pastries, even a slice of chef Diane Yang’s famed crepe cake, in the bakery. If you’re craving something sweet, the perfection of the pain au chocolat drove food writer Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl to tears… just a suggestion. Pull up to the bar after work for a cocktail and boudin blanc sliders or the charcuterie plate, complete with pate, tête de cochon and rabbit rilletes. If your sights are set on steak frites, trout amandine or escargot, plan ahead and reserve a table for dinner. I’ve been a regular since the doors opened, and topping my list of favorites are the mussels in a classic briny white wine broth, the double pork chop with cognac jus and braised radicchio, and for a special occasion, the plateau de mer—oysters, shrimp, clams, mussels, lobster and king crab, served with an aioli against which all other should be measured. And we haven’t even gotten to dessert yet. Whatever specialty is on the menu, don’t skip Diane Yang’s desserts. Period. Comfortable, accessible and beyond delicious, a meal here should not be missed.
739 Lake Street East
Wayzata, MN 55391
Photographs by Eliesa Johnson.