Becoming comfortable dining alone is a satisfying part of adulthood.
Our parents probably warned about the un-funness of bills, cleaning, fixing things and working. Sometimes eating ice cream for breakfast is the most satisfying part of a tough day. I’ve also found that pulling up a seat at any bar to order the food and beverage of my choice is very satisfying.
Dining alone used to terrify me. One May term in college, I spent an entire month eating alone in my dorm room. My roommates and best friends were gone and I felt too embarrassed to eat in the cafeteria. I literally ate baby carrots, oranges, ramen, and grilled cheese sandwiches all month.
If I could go back in time as current me, I would stroll into that cafeteria and and sit wherever I wanted. Of course, there’s a lot I’d tell my younger self.
Now I enjoy dining alone from time to time.
Sometimes I just want some a moment to myself. Sometimes, no one else can come with me. Sometimes I’m away from home. And other times, I just don’t want to wait. You really don’t owe anyone an explanation for why you are dining alone.
The last few times we’ve dined out, I saw plenty of people of all ages and genders dining solo. A good restaurant/bar will make a solo diner feel welcome and safe.
Hyacinth is located not far from us. Weekend reservations may require booking weeks in advance, as there are only 40 seats. I ended up having to cancel both attempts due to events that popped up during the weeks between.
After Christmas I finally said “fork it” and took myself to Hyacinth.
In a nutshell, I don’t believe Hyacinth is overrated. The space is cozy. The employees are really nice. The glasses and servingware are adorable. The food that I ordered tasted delicious.
Take the risotto ($22) for example. As far as I knew, I ordered a bowl of risotto with squash and fontina. When the bartender set down this dish in front of me, I wondered if it was the wrong meal. But no, it’s supposed to be like this!
Each bite included golden brown crust, a delightful string of cheese, a piece of sweet squash or crunchy pumpkin seed, or fried sage. This risotto must have been composed of equal parts rice and cheese. The leftovers made the perfect breakfast.
Currently, there are two types of crostini ($14). The one I ordered was topped with roasted apple, aged cheddar, almonds and cured lonza. Each bite captured something sweet, salty, savory, and sour along with the charred bread. Because the other crostini is topped with chicken liver mousse, I assumed this one was vegetarian not realizing lonza is cured pork loin. The small pieces of meat accented the topping. I’m guessing you could request this crostini without the lonza; it would taste just as lovely.
Something else you should know is that the menu prices include service. There is no place on the receipt to leave a credit card tip. If you feel you may want to leave extra gratuity, bring some cash.
Even though I only tried two dishes, they were very good dishes. The wine paired well and I look forward to returning. Making a reservation weeks in advance doesn’t always work out. Most nights I’m guessing you could simply pull up a seat at the bar as long as you arrive for an earlier dinner.
790 Grand Ave
St Paul, MN 55105
Oooo I might have to stake out the place for a bar stool when they open some night. I like solo dining, but its takes the right space and server. Available bar seats are always preferred!