Memorable | One of the Best
Tavern on Grand
Review by: Michael Stern
The Taste Of Minnesota
Walleye is Minnesota’s state fish. Walleye fishermen of the North Country have it at its best, sizzled in a pan by a campfire after a day of angling. Those who don’t catch and cook their own can enjoy it at Tavern on Grand in St. Paul. This restaurant serves more walleye than any other restaurant, about a ton each week.
Billing itself as “Minnesota’s State Restaurant Serving Minnesota’s State Fish,” this friendly place will start you off with an appetizer of three sautéed walleye cakes. Or how about beginning the meal with a basket of deep-fried walleye bites? On occasion, in the spirit of the Minnesota State Fair, you can choose walleye on a stick. Or consider a Minnesota Spring Roll, stuffed with walleye and wild rice and served with garlic ginger soy sauce for dipping.
Come to Tavern on Grand between 11am, when it opens, and 2pm and have skillet walleye for breakfast. At lunch, people enjoy the signature walleye sandwich on toasted ciabatta with jalapeno tartar sauce. A walleye plate, known as a “shore lunch,” consists of a single fillet with steamed vegetables and potatoes. For dinner, the kitchen turns out walleye on a bed of long-grain Minnesota rice with wild mushrooms as well as hot-honey fried walleye and coconut-battered walleye.
A Non-Fishy Fish
Why all the fuss about this freshwater perch? People love it for its flavor, which is only minimally fishy. Its firm, fine-flaked meat is sweet and butter-rich. If you’re a home cook and need some, Tavern on Grand will sells fillets frozen or ready to cook, along with appropriate walleye seasoning.
What Goes With Walleye?
On the side of almost any meal in the tavern, choose chicken wild rice soup as an excellent companion. To accompany your meal, the tavern stocks beers galore, domestic and imported, on tap and by the bottle.
North Woods, Downtown
Tavern on Grand feels like the right place to enjoy Minnesota’s state fish. It resembles a log cabin lodge in the woods. No matter where you sit in the bar, you have a good view of one of the TVs positioned for everyone to watch whatever game is currently broadcast. Look for the big neon fish in the front window.
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