There’s a flurry of construction and training activity taking place inside 510 Groveland in Minneapolis. That’s where P.S. Steak is gearing up to open in the swank, historic space that was famously home to La Belle Vie.
It’s as sanctified a dining venue as it gets in Minneapolis; before La Belle Vie’s run, from 2005 to 2015, the space was home to another well-regarded institution, 510 Groveland.
The restaurant is the work of Jester Concepts, the team behind Borough, Parlour, Monello and Constantine. Venturing into this hallowed address, Jester has a secret weapon in its back pocket: executive chef Mike DeCamp, who spent a decade in the much-lauded La Belle Vie kitchen.
Jester, with the help of Shea Design of Minneapolis, is making some changes to the patrician 1927 interior — it’s the visual embodiment of a generations-old trust fund — with the approval of the building’s residents.
“We’re very protective of the space,” said DeCamp (pictured, above, at Monello, in a Star Tribune file photo). “It’s not on the historic register, but we’re treating it as if it is. This is one of the coolest spaces in the city, and we want people to experience that. We want to pay homage to the past, and honor what makes this place special. But we also want everyone to know that this is a comfortable restaurant, and it’s going to be a place for everyone.”
During the La Belle Vie/510 Groveland days, diners traversed a long hall to reach the subdued dining room. No more. Now they enter through a new door that's situated just beyond the lobby and opens into the former overflow dining room, portions of which have been remade into a bar. It’s an entirely different salutation: an animated space, with booths and a 10-seat, wood-paneled bar.
Once a cheery butter yellow, the dining room’s walls are now a deep chocolate brown. The ceilings got that same dark brown treatment, too, a choice that only accentuates the elaborate crown moldings, which are trimmed in a pearly cream. (“It’s cozy. It’s your own little world,” said DeCamp). Once the original maple floor was discovered, all the carpets were pulled. The room is now lined with a series of deep banquettes and is anchored by a wine cabinet — a holdover from La Belle Vie — as well as a unique feature: four dry-aging cabinets, designed to show off various whole birds.
“Since you can’t see the kitchen, we still wanted to give people a peek behind the scenes,” said DeCamp. “You’ll be able to pick your own duck.”
In the lounge — home to one of the city’s great restaurant fireplaces — the bar has retained its same footprint. Lounge seating will include two-tops as well as lounge-friendly sofas and chairs. An understated color palette has been selected: gray (walls) and white (moldings, for days) — including a small semiprivate dining room, which had been painted a vivid red during the brief period in 2017 when the space was occupied by the 510 Lounge.
The lounge and the dining room will have separate menus. “But you’ll be able to order off both menus in both spaces,” said DeCamp. “We want to be inclusive. You should just be happy that people want to eat your food.”
After months of planning, DeCamp and his crew finally got into the kitchen last week.
“That’s been really fun for me, seeing it come back to life,” he said. There’s one small problem: The smoker he ordered is about four inches too wide to fit through the door. “We’ll figure it out,” he said with a laugh.
In the lounge, diners will be able to feast on classic steakhouse nibbles, including shrimp cocktail, beef tartare, an affordable caviar option (“I don’t want to be precious, and stuffy,” said DeCamp) and items along the lines of a BLT prepared with sugar-cured, bone-in and house-smoked guanciale and dried tomatoes and served lettuce wrap-style. La Belle Vie’s trademark lamb burgers will return, along with its formulas for French fries and potato chips.
The lounge’s bar will take a more adventurous attitude toward cocktails, including libations created by bartenders who have worked at the space in the past. “Jesse [Held, the company’s beverage director] would like me to use the word ‘progressive,’” said DeCamp. In the bar in the dining room, bar director Jeff Rogers will focus on classic cocktails.
As for the menu in the dining room, “We’re not going to reinvent the steakhouse, but we’re going to make it a little different,” said DeCamp.
For starters, he’ll be introducing seasonality into a genre that rarely seems to waiver.
“Right now, you can find asparagus at any steakhouse in the world,” said DeCamp. “That’s not me.”
It’s an initiative backed by a smart hire. The restaurant’s chef de cuisine is Wyatt Evans, chef/owner of the former farm-to-table-focused Heirloom.
Along with a Caesar, expect to encounter a shaved beet salad with pickles, or a raw onion salad.
“Like the one at Peter Luger,” said DeCamp, referring to the classic New York City steakhouse. “It’s shaved raw red onions — they’re mild, and fresh — tossed with buttermilk ranch and lots of dill.”
Steaks will emphasize dry-aged cuts that are both classic (a bone-in tenderloin, pictured, above, in a provided photo) and less-familiar (flatiron, Zabuton). Spring will mean the introduction of lamb and goat, and the arrival of autumn will be heralded with venison and elk. Birds will include pheasant, squab and duck.
For the duck, DeCamp is borrowing the classic presentation — with a few twists, of course — made famous by New York City’s Eleven Madison Park: the skin lacquered with sorghum syrup, lavender, coriander and fennel. Squab will be glazed with a veal demiglacé (“I do that with fish, and I love the technique,” said DeCamp) and served whole, on the bone. “And just let the guests go to town on it,” he said.
Seafood will include steakhouse classics: salmon, scallops, clams. Seafood towers, featuring both shellfish and composed dishes, in three sizes: big, bigger, biggest.
Side dishes? There will be three variations on potatoes, plus an ever-changing array of seasonal vegetables, served as prepared dishes. For example, instead of a plate of sauteed mushrooms, DeCamp will serve them in a tart (pictured, above, in a provided photo).
Pastry chef Jo Garrison will offer a baked Alaska (with salted caramel ice cream and a coffee génoise cake) that’s flamed, tableside, with chartreuse. Other items will include bread pudding, a gluten-free pound cake and sundaes. “Straightforward steakhouse desserts,” said DeCamp.
Dinner will served nightly, and weekend brunch will materialize in the summer. Opening night is Jan. 7.