Carol March, the restaurateur behind the neighboring Public Kitchen and Bar and brought on chef Justin Sutherland (formerly of Brasserie Zentral) to create a Southern-tinged, hearty menu in St. Paul's bubbling cauldron of tasty hipness.
The Handsome Hog has taken shape at the corner of Sibley and 6th Street in St. Paul. This restaurant dense part of Lowertown also includes neighbors Barrio, Bulldog, Public and Faces. This address was most recently home to Bin Wine Bar, but it's almost hard to remember the awkward, double-barred layout. (We said almost - it was a bit of an tough floor plan.) Now, the room begins with seating facing Mears Park and ends with a bar in the heart of the building.
Behind that bar, well-versed drinkers will be thrilled to spot Trish Gavin and a bank of bourbon bottles. Gavin's resume includes running the bar at Brasserie Zentral, Il Foro and Heidi's. She's as well versed in the world of cocktails as she is with wine. Drinks lean on the classics, with the Old Fashioned served either classic or DeGroff-style. The Sazerac is deep in color with just a hint of smoke.
That toasty aroma guides Sutherland's menu, which is described as Southern...ish. There are barbecue flavors, but he isn't bound by the constraints of calling it a barbecue restaurant. His food travels around the South with Minnesota-sourced grits, laced with cheese and acting as a stage for huge, head-on shrimp. Big batches of brisket will be made daily and served in limited supply for $20 at dinner. (The menu warns: when it's gone - it's gone.) The Farm pulls from the whole barnyard with braised oxtail, a right proper buttermilk biscuit, sunny duck egg, crispy pigs ear and tartly pickled squash blossom for $21. Zesty chicken is dressed in syrup and placed atop atop waffles for $16. Prices for entrees hover in the mid-twenties. Starters include pimento cheese served with Ritz crackers, crispy tails and hush puppies with prices ranging from $7 to 12.
The restaurant opens for business Monday for lunch and dinner.
- All Handsome Hog Coverage [EMPLS]