By John Garland
A “small plates” menu is a constant tug-of-war between artistry and value. It’s a line that Heyday is walking with purpose, where a smart order of two or three items can be immensely satisfying to the stomach and wallet.
Based on the La Belle Vie lineage of its key players, Heyday was expected to impress right away. And the early verdicts (Heavy Table, City Pages) agree that it has. The front of house is welcoming, prompt and knowledgeable. The bar area seems laid out with community in mind. The sharing-focused menu, combined with the number of industry folks we’ve spotted there recently, suggests that Lyn-Lake does indeed have a new preeminent gathering spot.
Heyday’s small plates are more on the order of Tilia than Piccolo and it’s hard not to be smitten by this initial menu. The monkfish, chicken liver tart, branzino and squab all seemed patiently organized and simply cared for. Our sole disappointment was the chilled mussels, lost in the modern gastronomic double-down of both a gelée and a foam.
Otherwise, you’d be hard-pressed to spot a true miss on the menu, and one would be wise to begin a meal with the lamb tartare. It’s a preparation that ranks squarely among, if not outright atop, the best tartares we’ve ever consumed in the Twin Cities. The lamb’s gaminess is subdued by a sprinkling of chili powder and a mix of microscopic capers. The most brilliant addition, though, is the fried artichoke chips, which add a salty textural contrast.
Our only real quibble with Heyday is the lack of an impressive beer program to match the well constructed wine and cocktail lists. (Forgive the beer pedantry, but this is The Growler, and we cannot abide by a Cuvee de Jacobins Rouge poured into a chilled pint glass). But we expect that will get worked out. Based on its pedigree and off-to-the-races beginning, we envision Heyday maturing into a neighborhood-defining destination.
Heyday, 2700 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-200-9369