Tonight marks the first of two sold out pop-ups that Tim Niver and J.D. Fratzke will be hosting to preview Saint Dinette, the most buzzed about restaurant coming to St. Paul later this year.
Fratzke and Niver are also the owners of The Strip Club Meat & Fish in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood. Since first opening in 2008, The Strip Club has garnered praise for its carnivorous dishes and led the charge in sustainable cuisine and strong relationships with growers.
Although they are still not ready to reveal the exact address for Saint Dinette, Fratzke shared several new tidbits from Fratzke as he prepared for tonight's dinner service.
1. The Name. The definition of a dinette is a small table set in a corner. The restaurant will be located in the corner of a building in St. Paul's Lowertown neighborhood. Fratzke and Niver had long discussed what kind of restaurant they wanted, but it was ultimately Niver who came up with this name. A dinette is a cozy place where family shares a meal.
2. Family. Both Niver and Fratzke adore their wives. Get either of them talking about their ladies and the conversation takes a rhapsodic turn. Both Lisa Fratzke and Christy Niver work alongside their mates at The Strip Club. Now that tradition is being extended. Adam Eaton, Sainte Dinette's chef de cuisine is engaged to the front-of-house manager Laurel Elm. Both are veterans of La Belle Vie.
3. Upscale Flannel. Initially Niver described the vibe as "upscale flannel." Fratzke explained that he thinks of it as "North American hospitality." French-influenced flavors, but nothing fussy or unfamiliar. The restaurant will be warm, comforting with a dash of Minnesota-made ruggedness. Jeans and flannel shirts will be just as welcome as a suit and tie, but you might want to loosen that tie.
4. The inspiration. Both men were inspired by all the lands connected by the waterways that carried early settlers into North America. From the decadent joie de vivre of Montreal to the laissez les bon temps rouler fare of New Orleans, there are the vestiges of the French culinary tradition from Canada down to Mexico. The menu will travel those waterways and borrow flavors from each of the regions.
4. The Menu. The first dish that will be served at the pop-up tonight is a duck breast carpaccio. The duck is rubbed with achiote, chilled and sliced thinly. They removed the skin, dried it and deep fried it, creating a duck chicharron. The carpaccio is served over a watermelon salad with lime, tamarind and radish.
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