Tavern on Grand, St. Paul, MN Report #97


Through no fault of my own I ended up in Minnesota and got hungry!  This place calls itself “Minnesota’s State Restaurant”, and features Walleye, which is supposed to be the state fish of Minnesota.  Me, being from the deep south and Walleye being a northern fish I had never eaten, I figured I’d give it a try.

Minnesota is close enough to Wisconsin to have good cheese so we started off with the fried cheese curds.  Yummy.  And the ranch dressing, which our waitress told us they make in house, was delicious.

Next we tried the Tater-Tot Hot dish.  Ground beef and veggies simmered in a mushroom soup and topped with tater tots.  Kind of tasty but it could have definitely used more of the beef/veggie mixture.  It was spread really thin in the serving dish.

Next my dining partner had the Famous Walleye Sandwich.  I’m not sure how it got so famous with so little fish on it.  You definitely had more bread than fish.  But it was a good tasting sandwich.  And they serve it with regular and jalapeño tarter sauce, both of which are delicious.

Finally, since I had never had Walleye, I decided on the Walleye sampler.  Fried, grilled and blackened Walleye, served with a Walleye cake, and jalapeño and regular tarter, and béarnaise sauce.  Here’s where the problems started.

I happened to notice the menu stated the fish may contain bones.  Being a life long fisherman and consumer of fish, I have BAD memories of getting fish bones stuck in my throat as a kid before I learned how to properly fillet fish.  Anyway, I thought this may have just been a disclaimer for civil liability.  I never dreamed I’d get fish served to me with bones in it.

The Walleye cake was delicious!  I loved it.  I tasted the grilled and the blackened Walleye, and it was a delicate, flaky, tasty fish.  Then I tried the fried Walleye and it was dense, tough and a little dry.  I asked the waitress if she was sure this was all the same kind of fish.  She said, “Yes, it’s all Walleye”.  I told her the fried fish is a lot denser and tougher than the others.  She said it probably got that way since the frying process toughens it up.  Well, I know better.  Anyway, I didn’t care for the fried fish.

On a side note, I have the good luck of seeing into the future in this report since I’m typing it a couple days later.  The next night we dined at a different place (soon to be Report #99) and the fried Walleye WAS flaky and tender.  AND BONE FREE!!  In fact I asked the waiter at this other place if they ever served Walleye with bones in it and he looked at me like I was crazy.  I thought it may have just been a northern thing.

As far as the bones, if you look at the second to last pic all those bones on the edge of my plate were from ONE bite of blackened Walleye.  If you look close at the last pic you can see two bones sticking out of one of the fillets of the grilled Walleye.   There’s no excuse for this in my book.  This place needs to learn how to fillet their fish.  I can’t recommend going to any restaurant that’ll serve you fish fillets with bones in them that you have to hunt for instead of just enjoying your food.

656 Grand Ave., St. Paul, MN  55105  Ph: 651-228-9030

Blaine 5-26-2018


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