L’Etoile du Nord

Dined on June 18th.

Outside view

A few weekends ago, we found ourselves in Bayport, MN, a quaint little town along the St. Croix River, one mile south of Stillwater, MN. During our visit, we took the kids to Lakeside Park, but before that we had the privilege of dining at this charming little cafe called L’Etoile Du Nord. L’Etoile Du Nord is a french phrase meaning “The Star of the North”. I also found out that L’Etoile Du Nord is the motto of the U.S. State of Minnesota chosen by the state’s first governor, and was adopted in 1861, 3 years after admission of Minnesota to the Union. As for the cafe, it is Belgium inspired thanks to the owner who is from there. The cafe prides itself as using only the freshest ingredients which they source locally from farmers in the St. Croix River Valley. One of their motto is that everything they offer is made from scratch with only the finest, local, organic, and seasonally available ingredients.

First Impressions: The place is small and attractive, it does remind you a bit of an European cafe. They do have outdoor dining both in the front and in the back of the restaurant. When we dined there, it was pretty empty, so I would be curious to see the place at full capacity. I would imagine that diners would be talking over each other and there wouldn’t be much room to breathe. I did enjoy that you have a full view of the kitchen area. I always like seeing the cooks at work (as did Isaac).
Eats:
waffle
For the kids, we ordered the Liege Waffle ($3). We didn’t realize how small they were but most importantly the kids love them, so we ordered another one. Supposedly, the liege waffle is richer, denser, sweeter, and chewier. I took a small bite and I agree, they were delicious. This sort of waffle is also the most common type available in Belgium.
Frittata
The Frittata ($13) with smoked trout, green garlic, potatoes, and herb gouda was tasty. I really liked that the dish was eclectic, and was made up of various ingredients. The trout, eggs, potatoes, and cheese all complimented each other, which made the dish very enjoyable with each bite.

Gratin

Sarah had the Asparagus Gratin ($15), wrapped in ham with stoemp and cabbage. The stoemp was made from mashed potatoes and other root vegetables. Its ingredients tasted like they had just come from the garden and had amazingly unique flavors. The asparagus was cooked perfectly and surrounded by crispy, salty ham. The meal was rich and fresh all at the same time.
Verdict: First of all, I want to give thanks to the staff.  Our waitress Lori was great at entertaining our kids, as they were very active that day. Thank you for your patience and for the great attentive service. I did enjoy this little charming cafe but with the kids tagging along, it was a bit difficult to fully experience its charm and great food. Because the menu changes often based on ingredients available, I will be making another visit to see what other good eats I can find. I highly recommend that if you do drive or bike towards the St. Croix Valley area, stop by L’Etoile Du Nord for a coffee, waffle, Belgian brew, or for their baked goods.
L’Etoile Du Nord
320 5th Avenue N,
Bayport MN
651.439.7507
OPEN WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY
Wednesday – Sunday – 8am – 3pm
Wednesday & Friday only – 5pm – 8pm
Closed Monday & Tuesday
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