Most of the time when we’re at ‘The Cabin’ we don’t go into town. (The cabin is on Island Lake north of Duluth. If we don’t want to cook, we’ll walk 3 blocks to ‘The Tavern’ for a burger or fried chicken or fish.) The whole point is to get away and not substitute one city (Duluth) for another (home – Edina). But in early August, a large group of family and friends planned a dinner at the Duluth Grill, and we came along.
Several people in the group had eaten there, some of them multiple times. Those who had eaten there pretty much raved about it, and the café does get generally favorable reviews from various online sources.
It certainly has an extensive menu, and there’s lots of appealing offerings. Any restaurant that offers breakfast items all day is a winner in my book. As tempted as I was by the corned beef hash, I opted for the ratatouille instead. It was a good choice. The roasted vegetables were delicious. It was served over polenta. Some of the group were from Texas, and they’re used to seeing soft polenta. The ratatouille was served over polenta cakes, and I thought it was excellent. The whole dish was topped with crumbled goat cheese.
Another tempting entrée was the Lake Superior whitefish. The description of it is mouthwatering, but the presentation is even more appealing. The fish is wrapped in a spiral with the herbed butter and lemon in the middle. On the plate next to the fish is a generous serving of wild rice pilaf. It’s also served with a mixed green salad dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.
I felt the plate was a little too crowded aesthetically. But that’s a quibble. The whitefish is something I definitely would consider ordering on a return visit.
My sister-in-law had the smoked salmon salad. It looked very good, and she liked it a lot. My brother-in-law ordered gyros. But instead of being meat shaved off a rotisserie, it was a whole roasted lamb shank. I think I would have liked that better than a ‘regular’ plate of gyros, but if you were expecting regular gyros, perhaps this variation would have put you off. Also, he had the Grill’s ‘deconstructed smashed potatoes’ on the plate. I don’t remember if he ordered them as a side or if they came with the gyros. Either way, they looked very good.
Not everything was memorable. My wife had a bison burger that she said was fine but nothing special. And there are a lot of items on the menu that just don’t look appealing to me. But like I said, it is an extensive menu, so it doesn’t matter if you don’t like some of the items.
Now for the big question – would I make a special trip into town from the cabin just to eat at Duluth Grill? No, probably not. But, if I were in Duluth for some other reason, I definitely would consider eating at the Grill.