Heidi’s is a Minneapolis fine dining restaurant that all of my foodie friends have been surprised I’ve never tried. Perhaps it was simply bad timing, perhaps it was simply a matter of effort, but somehow I had never been there until yesterday. Heidi’s certainly has a reputation among the foodie cognoscenti in Minneapolis as being one of the finest places to eat, so I went into it with very high expectations.
Overall, I would describe my experience as uneven. The service was impeccable yet unobtrusive, and the wine list was certainly more than functional. Some of the courses on the seven-course tasting menu, such as the beet and goat cheese salad, were absolutely divine. I absolutely loved the salmon mousse cannoli, wrapped in a shell of an “everything” bagel slice.
That said, some of the courses were seasoned with an incredibly heavy hand. The opening course, an egg mousse, was quite salty, but that was nothing compared to the pasta course that came later. Ostensibly, the pasta included black truffles and fresh homemade pasta in a cream sauce, but the salting of the food was so heavy, that I tasted literally nothing but salt. I would not have even known there were truffles in the dish if the server had not told us. It really bordered on inedible. This either indicates the chefs were not actually tasting the food before it went out or someone in the kitchen had a major sodium deficiency in their diet and was craving salt that night.
Even when salt was not the issue, there were other plates that also suffered from seasoning overkill. The lamb shank, one of Heidi’s signature plates, was so overwrought, so heavily braised in a very strong sauce, and so heavily seasoned, that I didn’t actually know I was eating lamb. For all I could tell, it was beef pot roast in a sauce. The delicate flavor of the lamb was completely overwhelmed by everything else on the plate. My better half, a great lover of all things lamb, left most of her plate untouched she was so underwhelmed.
Perhaps I caught Heidi’s on a bad night. Perhaps my taste buds were somehow overly sensitive that night. But all things considered, I would not consider Heidi’s to be among the better meals I’ve ever had, nor would I even consider it to be one of the best in the Twin Cities. While Tim McKee’s La Belle Vie may be significantly stuffier and a bit formal for Minneapolis, at least their tasting menu is consistently prepared and carefully seasoned. Doug Flicker’s Piccolo also shows a level of care, creativity, and consistency with their food that clearly overshadows Heidi’s in my mind.
I really wanted to like Heidi’s, but I find myself walking away wondering if I will give them a second chance–my guess is that we will, but we will do so with a very critical eye.