Fermentations Wine Bar and Bistro in Dundas combines a small, comfortable atmosphere with a first-class dining experience.
"There's a sophisticated palate in Northfield," said head chef and owner Ed Lundstrom. "There are many experienced travelers, yet [no such restaurant] here."
Lundstrom spent several months looking for a place to open his dream bar and bistro.
"We wanted something tucked away, not right on Highway 3," he said. "We stumbled onto this location. Though I had doubts about whether it would work, it turned out well."
The decision was definitely a good one. Every aspect of the restaurant showcases a high-class, yet relaxed feel, as well as a smaller, more intimate type of atmosphere.
"Most of the places we found were just too big," he said. "And a bigger place leads to higher pricing and higher costs for diners."
The interior of the restaurant is breathtaking, yet offers a true sense of relaxation. The main room sits about 40, mostly tables of two and four, and the walls are accented with oil paintings of everything from bistros to waiters to chefs. The two-tiered ceiling combines a fancy look with a simple pattern, and the soft lighting creates a perfect atmosphere, romantic or otherwise.
From the moment you sit down, a waiter offers to take your coat, and a wine list is placed in front of you. Aside from choosing from a fully stocked wine bar complete with a giant wine rack full of bottles diners can also choose to order a cocktail or margarita. Delicious-looking dessert margaritas are also offered.
The restaurant offers a rotating menu that changes every Thursday. "I have a passion for food and wine," Lundstrom said. This past week, it consisted of seven hors doeuvres and six entrees. The appetizers included such succulent selections as sautéed crab cakes with remoulade sauce, butternut squash soup, and lamb meatballs in cognac sauce. First-time French diners should opt for the finery of Coquille St. Lacques, or scallops in white wine sauce, served with gruyere cheese.
The entrees this week were très bon. For rookies, the chicken fricassee or pork roast can be a good start, and for the more experienced, the eggplant lasagna or the cassoulet, a French stew of white beans, pork, and lamb sausage, will fill any stomach just right. And thats just the way Lundstrom intended it to be.
Fermentations offers a smoke and cell phone-free environment, making it seem even more like an old-fashioned French bistro. But more importantly, by providing an upscale dining experience within a small, quaint establishment, it gives a personal feel not found in many restaurants.
Fermentations is open Tuesdays through Fridays, from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations, call (507) 645-8345. They also offer catering and a room for special parties.