St. Paul >Food & Dining > Forepaugh's
276 Exchange St S, St Paul, MN | Directions 5510244.941106 -93.103740
Monday To Friday From 11:00 AM To 02:00 PM Monday To Thursday From 05:00 PM To 09:00 PM Friday To Saturday From 05:00 PM To 10:00 PM Sunday From 11:00 AM To 02:00 PM Sunday From 05:00 PM To 09:00 PM
Neighborhoods: West Seventh
Dinner in Your Own Private Mansion – My husband and I went here to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary on a Sunday night. It was still moderately busy with a wedding party and a couple other anniversary celebrations but service was excellent. I'm a little confused as to some of the recent reviews regarding the lack of service. We had an exceptional waitress that was very helpful and friendly but perhaps we didn't need to rely on her too heavily; we already knew exactly what we wanted. We ordered the samosas for an appetizer, my husband got the strip steak, and I got the 6 oz. filet. Everything was incredibly delicious, including the sides and sauces we ordered (I got the grown up mac and cheese, he got the fries). Service was considerably slower than your usual "in and out" restaurant but that was exactly what we wanted. We never felt rushed and no waitress was hovering over us to move us along to the next course. The room was cozy and intimate and there was only one other couple there for the majority of the time. It truly felt like we were getting a delicious and homemade dinner in our own private mansion. They offered us some sparkling juice and a free dessert (best chocolate cupcake on the planet!) for our anniversary and I was touched by the gesture.
Downsides: Pretty much nothing to complain about but again, we came at a slower time. I liked that our waitress told us what was going on with her "schedule" to the extent that she alerted us to a large wedding party coming in. That way we could put our order in sooner and that was greatly appreciated. My husband noted that his fries were a little "over fried" and rather salty. I agreed but I can't say it was a deal-breaker. I ordered my filet medium and admittedly it came out a little more medium-well, but again that was just fine with me. Perhaps that'd be too much for a food snob, but it was secretly that perfect spot between the two that I love. I highly recommend this restaurant for a romantic evening and when you want to enjoy each other's company for a couple hours!!
Best Place to take your Client – If your looking for something special or need to entertain your best client look no further. Forepaugh's has got it all.
Best food, service, and ambience you can find anywhere in the Twin Cities. Down the street from the Xcel Energy center it is a perfect meeting place for a quick appetizer before the event.
So, so wrong! – We'd been to Forepaugh's for the first time just after they'd acquired new management, but never returned. That usually means we didn't like it, but because we wanted to go somewhere near our downtown hotel for our anniversary, we decided to give it another try. Our first mistake.
From the moment we walked in, the servers, bartender and host seemed flustered, yet it didn't look overly busy. Even so, you want to project an image of calm, don't you, even when (especially if?) Rome is burning? We were told our table would be ready in a few minutes and we could wait in the bar. I never say no to a drink, but what's the point of ordering a drink and then being ushered to your table before it arrives? There's no proper waiting area, not to mention a very unattractive sight right next to the host's desk of unwashed dishes and what I think is the dumbwaiter.
Aside: who in the hell is drinking their Martinis on the freaking rocks? Please stop! Bartenders apparently need to be reminded every time I order one that I'd like it up.
Our waitress was very sweet, but she looked like she was going to cry from the get go. I'd overheard her telling another table that the food was on its way. Our appetizer of "foie gras carbonara" was soupy and unimpressive and skimpy on the foie gras. My Wellington, and the food in general, seemed to be salty and underseasoned at the same time: not sure how you accomplish that.
The worst was the icky side of sauteed cilantro, a veritable bed of it. Someone needs to sit the chef down and have a heart to heart. Not all of your amazing ideas are amazing. Stop the madness. Additionally, but sadly, not surprisingly, my husband's plate was missing the duck leg confit. He was already done with his meal before they could bring it out. I have to say that he is one of the slowest eaters on the planet.
On the way out, the host asked how everything was. I said it was okay, and he inquired further. I told him that a duck leg was missing from the plate, and he said, yes, that they'd removed it from the bill. I had already thanked the waitress for that, and again thanked him. Then he made the fatal error of explaining why things had gone wrong: it was prom night, these kids had shown up late, etc., etc. Frankly, they all looked out of their league from the minute we walked in.
Such a sad experience: it's such a lovely old house but the food and service is really sub par. When we go out, we really don't look for "value," but in this case, the prices were not commensurate with the food at all. I really liked the description of if as Norma Desmond: faded and sad.
I'm writing this with management and the chef in mind: take a look at your competitors (WA Frost, even the St. Paul Hotel Bar and Grill) and up your game. No one can rest on their laurels for long, especially in this economy.
Far exceeded our hesitant expectations. – We booked a Valentine's day reservation and were worried that the service would be extremely busy to provide us a good experience. Thankfully, that was not the case. We were very satisfied with the level of service we got, water was always full and the waitress had time to explain the menu and answer our questions, some of which were not menu related, but small talk.
To be sure, we spent several hours there (not ideal if you are looking for a quick meal) and worked our way through each course, from appetizer to dessert, including 1 drink each, and spent just over $100. But we knew the cost going in and had observed the menu on the website.
I can see how people would have mixed experiences here, but if you know what you are getting into before hand, with costs, timing and menu offerings, I think you will have a GREAT experience. We were fortunate to be in one of the best looking rooms, make a request by a fireplace if you can. The food was tasty, but some offerings were unusual and there is not a ton of variety, only 8-10 offerings. The portions might be small if you do not add the salad or soup (both very good) or an app. Value is not necesarily a strong word here, but the experience is top notch. Preperation is key, forwarned is forarmed. Service was great for us, but may be uneven depending on timing and capacity. Too bad, consistency should be guaranteed for this price, but I would not be willing to guarantee excellence, though we certainly experienced it. We even got a short private tour of the wine cellar on this busy Valentine's night, and we are not even wine snobs! Great for us, recommend making reservations at an early time 6-7 to ensure service and put in a request for a good seat.
Nice Renovation, Great Service and Ambience. Menu change displeasing, Less for More – We were engaged at Forepaughs, Valentines Day 5 yrs ago & made it tradition to return every year since. We were unaware of the renovation until we got there. It turned out well, not taking away any charm of the house or atmoshpere. We arrived early & were very welcomed by the hostess who seemed to recognize us from previous years. We relaxed in the bar until our table was ready, we ordered & PAID for our drinks at the bar & were surprised at the $20 charge for a Tom Collins & Captain Coke. We had a 9:30 reservation and were seated timely. Our waitress Samantha was very friendly, attentive & informative. We were surpised at the menu change, not at all what we were used to and expected to order, we always ordered the stuffed chicken "Meal" which came w/ salad, potatoe & vegetable. We decided on Pan seared walleye which the waitress informed us was a bit spicy w/ a curry sauce. We decided to try it anyway. We found out it no longer included a salad. The menu is ala carte now. We decided to split a $8 blt wedge which was very good. Our walleye came in a huge plate with a very small fillet soaking in a sauce which had bits of veggies, more like soup. It took up only 1/4 of the plate, very small but probably a "healthy" size portion. We tasted more ginger in the sauce than curry & it had a very asian flavor to it. We did not like it at all. We took our walleye out and ate it seperate from the sauce. The waitress noticed & offered to get us something else but we said we were ok, it wasn't her fault. So for $27 each, we got a small palm sized walleye fillet which was cooked to perfection but not filling by any means. The waitress insisted on giving us free desserts (which were good) after informing Mgmt we were displeased. We got our bill & found we were charged AGAIN for the drinks we had downstairs. They gladly took those off. Food & Drink prices were much higher. We felt like we got LESS for more, we left hungry for $100 bill for two. Sadly not sure if we'll go back.
Awful New Year's service - partially redeemed by complementary meal :( – We had 6:00 reservations, ordered by 6:30, i think, and proceeded to wait OVER AN HOUR between our soup and our entrees. Waitress and then hostess both came an apologized profusely, but it was VERY painful. Fortunately, we had no other New Years Eve plans, as we were in the restaurant for more than 2.5 hours. When we complained to the hostess, she apologized and said they would comp our entire meal. Even after that, when they should have been concerned, it still took 20+ minutes for our food. My food (lamb) was very tasty, although amazingly, it was not sufficiently hot. We were seated on the 3rd floor, and they may have had some trouble getting food up there, as they also had to comp (entrees only) the table next to us. After our horrible service, they told us the entire meal was free, encouraged us to order dessert, and even brought us glasses of champagne with dessert. Even at that point, the desserts were unacceptably slow in arriving. To be fair, this was New Year's Eve, but we were there from 6 until almost 9 pm, and all times there were at least a few open tables in our room, so they were definitely not full. (The restuarant is quite broken up, so we were not able to see if other rooms were full.) They also turned their (normally free, i believe) surface lot into $5 valet parking only, but did not have enough valets on hand to get your car promptly. We left feeling marginally satisfied, since they comped our ~$125 meal, but it's really tough to sit there that long, and stressful to be put in that situation. I understand they just reopened a few months ago, but they clearly do not have their act together (yet). I'd be very careful.
Slow Service Ruins Otherwise Good Meal – Do not go to Forepaugh's if you hope to eat relatively quickly. We allotted 1 1/2 hours for our office's Christmas lunch. We ordered, then waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, almost ONE HOUR later, half of our orders arrived. The last order did not show up until more than an hour after we had ordered. They did comp that last meal and give us extra cupcakes, but should have done much much more in my opinion. The place wasn't even that busy! The service was simply unacceptable. The food, on the other hand, was good, some of it even quite good. It's a shame -- I certainly will not be returning.
Not What It Used to Be – New Forepaugh's is bitterly disappointing at best. I was hesitant to try the new establishment, as prices have risen drastically. I thought perhaps the prices would be justified by quality. Not so. For $35+, I was served an undersized, bland, and disintegrating dish of Beef Wellington. My "Vegetable Medley" was four pieces of limp asparagus. For a starter, I ordered the corn soup, which came up luke-warm, and with a greasy, fried pepper.
Gone are the days of bustling, festive rooms. My party of two was placed alone in a room, with no music. While some might consider that romantic, I thought it to be awkward and uncomfortable.
While the service on the floor was very pleasant, I found the staff greeting us at the door cold and unattentive. They had "lost" our reservation, and were not able to grant our request of a window table, even though most of the tables in the building were empty.
Having dined at Bruce Taher's other establishments, I knew not to expect all too much from his latest. But even my low expectations were not met. It is with true regret, as my wife and I have celebrated our anniverary here every year for the past eleven years. We will not be back.
The Best Birthday Gift – When my son asked where would you like to go to celebrate your 65th birthday, I thought of Forepaughs, I hadn't been for a while. Personally, I couldn't have asked for a better evening. I've travelled the country on business and have eaten at some of the best French and American cuisine restaurants. We had reservations for 7p. The staff from the moment we drove up, were friendly and attentive. The Hostess looked as if she had been expecting us and was very glad to welcome us. Our seating was made to our satisfaction. When travelling, my son and I like to try new dishes, and since this was my first time since the remodeling and his first time, the Beef Wellington was exquisite, melt in your mouth experience. He had the Lamb, which was equally as good! Our attendent Michelle was overly attentive, although appeared busy, was patient and informative regarding questions we had. We sent our compliments to the Chef, and later Mathew showed up for us to tell him in person!All in all, a wonderful way to end 65 years and start on the 66! I won't wait, however until the official date to return.
Beware! Forepaughs will no longer honor their own 2007 gift certificates! – Warning! Forepaughs is under new management and has gone to the dogs! We purchased over $200 in gift certificates last November and tried to use them since the restaurant re-opened and the new management will not honor them. We were sent to a supper club in Minnetonka instead to talk with the former owners about our purchase. So the moral of the story is this: what the new owners saved by not honoring our gift certificates they lost ten-fold in customer loyalty. We will never eat at Forepaughs again. Shameful."
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