It’s no secret that I love a good dinner out. For my last night in Minneapolis (for a while, anyway), we stopped at a restaurant that Charles had been wanting to try for a while: Heyday.
The service at Heydey was damn near impeccable. We had an incredibly helpful and knowledgeable waitress who made herself disappear until the moment we needed anything, when she suddenly magically appeared. The place is fairly mid-range by Minneapolis standards, but high-end by Montana standards, so I went in with big expectations. We each had the chef’s tasting ($54 each) for four courses, plus a drink. It also started with some brilliantly crafted bread and butter. If you love a delicious bread, then you know what I mean.
On the menu:
Escabeche with heirloom tomatoes and lardons. This was a fantastic dish. It was delightfully fresh and had some of the most flavorful (non homegrown) tomatoes that I’ve ever seen. The lardon was a bit much, I thought, but I don’t generally enjoy eating pork.
Chicken liver tart with seasonal jam and pickled vegetables. Well. I hate to give away the whole blog post, but this was the most delicious thing that I have ever eaten in my entire life. That’s not something that I say lightly. I wasn’t really excited about it, because chicken liver is not something that I normally want to eat, but we got it. Boy, was it awesome. It looks beautiful, and tastes even better. The real winning quality is that it is a well-balanced bite. Crunchy puff pastry filled with creamy, rich mousse. Topped with crisp, acidic vegetables that cut the richness of the mousse perfectly. It’s sweet, but savory. Rich, but light. A must-try.
Fermented new potatoes with fresh cheese curd. At this point, I was beginning to suspect that the chefs were a little too enamored with fermenting and pickling. I get it, it’s the culinary trend-of-the-moment, but it seemed like every dish had a pickled or fermented element. That said, the potatoes were delightfully crisp, and I will never say no to cheese curds.
Grilled quail with radicchio, brown butter, and sourdough toast. Again, this was another good dish. It was tasty, but I also wouldn’t say that there was anything special about it. It may as well have been a rotisserie chicken. It was good, but not surprising.
Mushroom porridge with chanterelle, caramelized seeds, and hen egg. After the average quail, I was excited to have the porridge. Porridge is the wrong way to describe this. It was more like a thick mushroom and seed stew. It was not what I was expecting, but was good. Unfortunately, I feel like the weather just wasn’t right. It’s heavy. Hearty. And there was a lot of it. Huge portion size. It seemed a little off for a hot summer night, but will be heavenly on a cold November day.
Malt Pork with baby potatoes, buttermilk, and herbs. Like the quail, I had high hopes, but what we got instead was a run-of-the-mill pork loin. It was grilled, but the “malt” didn’t seem to add anything to the dish.
As a small amuse-bouche palette cleanser, our attentive waitress stopped by with a shot of rhubarb soda. It didn’t taste like anything but sweet, but I didn’t mind.
Now, dessert. Yikes. I thought hard about whether to talk about it, because…it was a hot mess. After the delicious bread at the beginning, I had high hopes that they might employ a real, live, skilled pastry chef. That appeared to be incorrect. First up was the frozen anise hyssop parfait with wild sorrel granite and red beet juice. The beet was really only for color. It did not provide any added taste. So, what we have here is essentially a snow cone covered in a wild-greens ice cream, drenched in food coloring. It was a weird combination, but not a totally offensive one. I wouldn’t consider it to be a delectable dessert, however.
The real disaster was the other dessert. I don’t even know where to begin. Two year Gouda with honeycomb, tarragon, and fermented berries. This was a hot mess. It’s essentially fancy cheese whiz. Whipped Gouda mousse, that is. It has some chunks of that honeycomb toffee in it too, not honeycomb from bees, like I had thought. Then it had tarragon (what) and berries. It was an incoherent mess. Honestly, it looks like the chef looked around the kitchen and threw all of the leftovers into a bowl and called it dessert. It was not delicious, and I could not possibly recommend.
So after all that, would I recommend Heyday? Kind of. There were a few really exceptional dishes, but also lackluster or plain bad ones. It’s a hit and miss place, with very high hits and very low misses. Eat at your own risk. Unless it’s the porridge or the chicken liver tart. Those are solid choices.
If you're interested, you can find Heyday at 2700 Lyndale Ave South in Minneapolis, or at their website here. Happy eating!