I dropping my son off for Outward Bound and want to give him one last good meal before he enters the wilds for a month. Where should I take a hungry teenager, with a sophisticated palette?
Dining in Duluth
Posted 27 June 2013 - 10:39 AM
Depends on your budget and the palate's preferences.
Blackwoods Bar and Grill, on London Road and 28th Ave East, has great pasta as well as meat dishes, a good selection of beer or wine for you if you're so inclined, and I'd say they're mid-priced: good food, and a lot of it, in the mid-teens prices. I think the rack of ribs, or some of the steaks, might be up into the $20-25 range but you certainly don't have to spend that much. They do a lot of cookery in their wood-fired ovens, and may also offer pizza but I can't swear to that.
Sir Benedict's Tavern on the Lake has an outstanding selection of sandwiches, soups and beers. I think they've branched into pizza. There's live music almost every night. If the weather's fine you can sit outside. Sandwiches are in the $8-10 range.
Down on Canal Park Drive (go toward the lift bridge) there's a bunch of restaurants. I've come to think of Grandma's Restaurant and Little Angie's (the Tex-Mex offshoot of Grandma's) as not very sophisticated, but the food's good and plentiful. Grandma's is the sort of place that has American kitschy junk, old road signs, fun stuff to look at, and great pasta, sandwiches...I'm making it sound like Blackwoods but the atmosphere's very different.
In the Dewitt-Seitz building (still near the lift bridge) there's a great Vietnamese place, Taste of Saigon, as well as the Lake Walk Cafe. Lake Walk is quiet, spendy, along the lines of a French bistro. Good food but I'm usually too cheap to eat there.
Kittycorner from the Dewitt-Seitz building is Bellisio's Italian restaurant. This is true Italian food, not Italian-American, and there's nothing kitschy about it. Quiet, dark, sophisticated. They take reservations. They do wine tastings. I don't think you could get out of there for less than $25/person (not counting drinks and tips) unless you stuck to appetizers or split a meal, something contraindicated with a hungry teenager.
Finally, I come to my personal favorite: go up the shore toward French River (maybe 10 miles past Duluth city limits), and at the corner of old Scenic Highway 61 and Ryan Road you'll find the New Scenic Cafe. They are also pricey: I just ate there and the meals were mostly in the mid-twenties region although I remember some in the teens. Their specialty is seasonal food, locally produced where possible; the chef/owner comes up with creative and wonderful food. I had the roasted duck breast, and it was done to perfection. A friend had seared scallops, also wonderful. Another friend had a herring sandwich (locally caught) and was very pleased. We indulged in desserts and appetizers and wine and had a wonderful time. I think this place is probably the most expensive of the ones I've named but it's a rare treat and fits the bill for the sophisticated palate. It won't give you the quantity of food that you'd get at Blackwoods or Grandma's but it'll expose your son to flavor combinations and foods that he couldn't get elsewhere, except possibly the Lake Walk Cafe.
Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
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Posted 01 July 2013 - 07:59 AM
Thank you for the suggestions! We ended up at the Lake Avenue Restaurant in the DeWitt-Seitz building. It was a little spendy, but really good--wonderful bison bone marrow and great fish. And conveniently, it is next to the Smokehaus--I picked up a few goodles to take home!