(Third in a series about winter travel)
When traveling during the winter and the subzero temperatures outside happen to have you thinking “Baby, it’s really cold outside, but I’d like to enjoy a good meal.”, one hopes that the hotel you’re staying in has a good restaurant. It’s an added bonus when that restaurant showcases local dishes as well as tasty familiar favorites. Such is the case with the St. Paul Grill, the main restaurant in the St. Paul Hotel. Settle into the sparkling decor coupled with dark wood for warm and cozy contrast, yet with lots of light coming through the windows during the day. During evening hours, the lighting is low giving the restaurant an intimate feel.
I ate lunch and dinner here as well as one late night snack in the bar, giving a variety of food to judge the quality by.
Lunch – Ordered the Cream of Minnesota Wild Rice soup, a local speciality that is delicious and hits the spot on a cold winter’s day. I paired it with the Market Street grilled chicken sandwich with thick-cut bacon, Swiss and Cheddar on grilled ciabatta (swapped out the spicy Sriracha Mayo for regular mayo). The server was very nice to substitute a salad instead of fries. I left a happy camper.
The second meal was dinner with friends. To my shock, the grill becomes a very pricey steakhouse at dinner. That’s not a bad thing if you love a good piece of beef or fancy entree or are entertaining clients, but my friends were on a bit of a budget. I asked our server (a very lovely and helpful Oriental lady who was very patient with our party that included two teenagers) if I could get one of their burgers that I had heard were very good. It’s considered bar menu during dinner, but she gladly served two of our party the desired burgers. I had the Humboldt Fog Burger with Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Tomato, Lettuce and Balsamic Reduction. It was cooked perfectly and very flavorful. Again, salads were willingly substituted for fries. I tried a bit of one friend’s order of mashed potatoes (sides are served family style) and they were to die for. This friend had the slices of beef tenderloin entree, so good that he quickly devoured them. Other entrees include lamb, chicken and locally caught Walleye, which may well be the state fish of Minnesota.
My third visit to the grill, I sat at the crowded bar while having late night drinks with a friend. We were just hungry enough for something, but due to the late hour, the main kitchen was closed for the night, so choices were limited to appetizers and light fare. The bartender suggested French fries. My belief is if you’re going to eat something that is supposed to be bad for you, it better be worth it. OMG! A huge plate of piping hot perfectly cooked golden fries were presented with the restaurant’s homemade bordelaise sauce (the bartender’s idea) making for incredibly yummy dipping. Way better than ketchup or my usual mayo.
At all three meals, service was cheerful, helpful and top notch. The food was so good, I ate it before remembering to take photos. While pricey at dinner, the St. Paul Grill is well worth the money for the quality of food and service provided.