We live in Minneapolis and so usually don't review local places, but we felt that since this is such a destination place for special occasions and fine dining, we'd write something up. This is our third time here - once before we had the nine course chef's tasting menu, and once we ate in the bar area. The nine course with wine pairings, along with the service, were superb - this was back in 2008 - and so when we got married this past June, instead of flying to Chicago for dinner at Tru or some other fabulous place, we stayed in downtown Minneapolis and did the 13 course chef's grand tasting menu with wine pairings at La Belle Vie. With tip, by the way, this was nearly a $600 affair.
We knew going in that portions were small, and with a 7:45 reservation, we actually had drinks and appetizers at Bradstreet Crafthouse at 5:00. The food at La Belle Vie is exquisite, and presented beautifully - like little edible Faberge eggs of yumminess. Standouts were the pata negra, the langoustine bisque and the sweet pea tortellini. A couple dishes had bizarre saltiness issues (either too much, or not enough) but this is a very minor quibble; overall, amazing five star food.The wine pairings were also fantastic.That being said, the portion sizes are miniscule. Three bites max per course. Wine was 1.5 ounce pours per course, and there was 10 minutes in between each course.So, that's the 13 course tasting menu.
This in and of itself isn't bad, but what sunk the evening for us were a couple things: the pacing of the courses and the service. Quite often our waiter would pour the wine, and then we'd sit and wait for the food...and wait....should we drink our two sips of wine and not have anything to go with the food? Drink a bunch of water? Order another drink as a filler?
Part of what you pay for when ordering a tasting menu at a place like La Belle Vie is waitstaff who understand the food and wine pairings and why they work together - and tell you. For example, in one course we were presented with a really cool alchemist-like glass contraption with herbs sitting in it, but no one bothered to explain what it was for - so we stared at it for five minutes until our waiter came back.
Our waiter was a complete dummy. We guess that he was a novice - he spilled some wine on one of the pours, and he was so very, very careful about pouring precisely 1.5 ounces every time, it became amusing after a while to watch. We mentioned it was our wedding (both when we made the reservation, and to our waiter at the beginning of the meal), and while we didn't expect heraldic trumpets, we did look forward to the "surprise" our waiter mentioned he had for us. So, after all the courses, we waited, and waited...and finally asked for a cab to be called. Then we waited some more, and waited....and finally decided to leave and wait outside for our cab. On the way out we ran into our waiter, who told us "I was just about to find you, your cab is here - and hey, congratulations!" It ended the whole evening on kind of a lame Denny's restaurant-esque tone.
The net result is that we would not come back here again for a special occasion.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.