Joan Ida, former pastry chef at Goodfellows, and more recently executive chef at Tria in North Oaks, is back in the area after a year of opening Western restaurants in Hong Kong — and about to open a new restaurant in Forest Lake. “It was a great experience,” reports Ida. “I got to travel and see all of Asia.”
I can’t read Chinese, so I have no idea what the picture above says about her, but one Hong Kong dining website reported that she led a team of chefs at Piccato, an Italian restaurant, where her menu included “pancetta wrapped-prawns with balsamic sweet onion, capers and sultanas, bruschetta with tomatoes, sweet clams, and white bean puree…lobster cioppino with black pepper croutons…8-hour osso buco with wild mushrooms and truffled risotto… and Barolo braised beef short rib with white beans, pancetta and artichokes.”
Her new venture, The Lake House, scheduled to open in early May in Forest Lake, is going to be a lot less gastronomical. Ida promises “comfortable American food, very recognizable wonderful food that you would find at a lake, like crappies like my mom made, dipped in Ritz cracker and fried.” Walleye will be on the menu, of course, along with Northern Minnesota style porketta, pork slowly roasted with harlic and herbs and a nice crispy skin, served with fresh green beans and a gruyere potato gratin; and maple black pepper duck breast with cherry chutney and spoon bread.
The lakefront restaurant will have an outdoor veranda and two 21-boat slips. “You can be on your pontoon in the middle of the lake, make a call and place your order, and we can give you your lunch.” Ida says the ambience at the 250-seat restaurant will be “refined casual” and promises that the pricing will be very moderate — “I want everyone to be able to come more than once a week.”
General manager will be David Harvey, formerly of the California Café, Morton’s, and Temple.