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Aug 14, 2007 07:56 AM

MN- Angry Trout

I have seen a few things about The Angry Trout Cafe, but would like some more info :)

What is the menu like? How are the prices?


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  1. Islandtime, I like the Angry Trout. The menu is based on whatever is in season locally at the time and focuses on Lake Superior fish and local natural ingredients (wild rice, local greens for salads, etc.) There will be a couple of soups, a few salads and a few entrees available on any given day. My most recent visit was May of 2006 (far too long ago in my opinion). My wife and I went twice over the weekend (not much else is open yet in early May in that area). Copying from an earlier post, I had a bowl of smoked lake trout chowder, a couple wonderful salads and the pan-fried herring with wild rice side.

    The prices are going to be higher than similar menu items in other places. I don't mind that aspect -- everything was made from scratch (including their excellent salad dressings) with ingredients brought in that day from local folks and/or fishermen pulling up on the adjacent dock. The freshness and quality at Angry Trout are apparent, so I don't mind a $3-5 premium on a salad or entree. I don't recall exactly, but I would expect $12 for a salad (gigantic and includes some smoked local fish) and maybe $17-20 for entrees (again, very generous portions). I could be off on the price recollection though.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MSPD

      Hi Islandtime

      The Angry Trout is my favorite place to eat in Grand Marais. Everything MSPD said is quite accurate. All of the food is consistently wonderful, and not in the least pretentious. They have a commitment to high quality ingredients and simple preparations. The salads are huge and full of tasty ingredients from local/regional farms. The fish is always prepared very simply to show off how fresh it is. They have a very clear identity as a restaurant and do what they do exquisitely. I have even eaten both lunch and dinner there in the same day so I could have some of their yummy soups as well as a fish dinner. Portions there are large by the way. Some of their fish entrees can easily be shared by two people. Another yummy unique thing they do is this home made maple syrup cream soda!! I can't say enough good things about the place.

      One warning though, they often have a long waiting list at peak dinner hour which they manage very well and they are good about communicating what the wait will be. They sometimes leave tables on their dockside patio unseated or some tables inside unseated if they have a lot of people outside. They do this to keep their kitchen and wait staff ratio to patrons at a level that keeps their service quality high. But bear that in mind and either go early or be willing to wait a little to be seated. It really is worth the wait.

      1. re: littlefoodie

        I didn't have much to add to what MSPD said either, so I, too, echo that. But, I didn't know about their homemade maple syrup cream soda--how intriguing! I must try that next time I'm back. Thanks for the tip.


    2. I make at least one annual trek to the Angry Trout every summer. I'm never disappointed. I love to go for lunch, sit outside or near a window, and just enjoy the big lake, the easygoing restaurant atmosphere, the crazy fresh food. My favorite entree is the grilled fresh fish sandwich, whatever the fresh fish happens to be--trout, white fish, herring--they're all beyond satisfying. The cole slaw is crisp and cold and not drowned in mayo, and there's always something good on tap. I ventured out and ordered the chowder this past July, and while I flinched just slightly to pay $4 for a cup of soup at the time, I would gladly pay twice that for another taste this minute. I'd like to add that Chez Jude is just across the street and if you're in Grand Marais for any amount of time, her lunch specials and high tea are just plain enjoyable. In the fall she has the fireplace going and the best belly-warming tea and most scrumptious desserts in town.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cinnamongirl

        I've always wondered about Chez Jude--it is looks so cute and inviting, though it lacks the fantastic on-the-harbor location Angry Trout has. Is there anything else you can tell us about the menu, aside from the high tea (which sounds intriguing, indeed!)


      2. We went to the Angry Trout on Saturday afternoon, it was quite the happening place! We sat outside because it was a great day and we have a dog.

        The food was good. We started out with the fish fritters. They were tasty.
        I had the chicken and chips. Other folks in my group had fish and chips and a fish burger.

        The prices were not bad, considering the quality of the food. We will be back.

        Thanks to all those that posted. Maybe next time, without the dog, we will hit up Chez Jude.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Islandtime

          I'm glad to hear all is still well at Angry Trout. Did you dine anywhere else in Grand Marais you can report on? I'm always looking for recommendations for when I'm up that way, as well as affirmations that the places I loved on my last visit are still good. :).


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            I can't comment on the Angry Trout, but I *can* tell you that Chez Jude is a little jewel. First and foremost, they are open late, ever so unheard-of in GM. They've developed a menu of lighter or more casual items for the post-dinner hours (I think it's after 9 p.m. or so). I had a nice cheese plate; others at the table ordered a flatbread pizza, a burger and the fries with truffle oil. Nothing disappointed and the service was friendly and very cozy. Definitely give it a shot if you're up there. I know that I'll go again.

          2. re: Islandtime

            For the safety and comfort of staff and customers, the Angry Trout Cafe no longer allows dogs.

          3. Last Tuesday, I went to the Angry Trout with DH, DS and DB in law. I was completely unimpressed. The pluses:
            --Super fresh fish, cooked well
            --Great dining room with an amazing view
            The minuses:
            --Multiple cooks and waitstaff chewing gum. Yuck. What’s up with this?
            --Dinner served right after ordering while 3 out of our 4 person party were not at the table. (They were waiting in line to wash hands at the one and only bathroom.) I’ve never heard of this, serving food to people not there, at least not at a place aiming above diner grade. And serving food so fast shows that there is a minimum of attention given to each order.
            --Hot and cold food all slopped together on one plate. My fish was literally hanging off the side of the plate. Salad needs it’s own territory, it should not be smashed up against hot food.
            --Lousy chocolate cake dessert. I’ve had better at hippie potlucks (really).
            --Profoundly inattentive service.

            I value good, fresh local and organic food. I don’t mind paying for it either, not when it’s good. And I appreciate they are trying to keep a casual ambiance. But what I take from my experience is a disrespect for both the food and the customers, and I won’t be going back. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t good enough to warrant a return visit. I am mystified by the amount of praise this place has gotten, or has it just gone way downhill?

            6 Replies
            1. re: takeheed

              The single restroom and outside to boot is a problem. We know from experience to plan ahead on that one.

              1. re: takeheed

                I have no experience with hippie potlucks and really could not care less about cooks chewing gum, but your experience and mine (all of them over a few years) differ vastly. Here are my most recent notes, not that you probably care since you won't be back. But since you asked:


                Sorry you didn't like it. Maybe try Chez Jude next time.

                1. re: MSPD

                  I'm glad there are some Angry Trout lovers out there, because I believe in restaurant diversity. I just wanted others to have the option of the benefit of my experience in case they value the same things as me. Some of my experience might be due to a fluke of timing, but I also just have the feeling that this restaurant is set up with different values than I anticipated (ie. ability to assemble and serve plates very quickly). I'm glad you enjoyed the pilaf, MSPD. I thought it was fine. Not exceptional. Proves yet again we're all different. Vive la difference!

                  1. re: MSPD

                    Cooks chewing gum (and servers wearing perfume) is an indication that the sensory palate is not respected. It is hugely significant for a restaurant which strives to reach the highest level. Angry Trout is not that restaurant. It is hyped and has achieved cult status. The reality of my recent experience (chowder, and fried herring and chips) was lack of finesse accompanied by overemphasis of the provenance of the mugs and furniture. A.T. is the classic "view restaurant" (a restaurant that prominently features windows and locale). IMO the best all around view restaurant is Greens in San Francisco. They highlight the provenance of ingredients. They'll tell you about the excellent furniture (Blunk). The art is elegant. They deliver excellent service and delicious simple fare. The Golden Gate is somehow matched by their achievements. A.T. is a few clicks short of matching the beauty of the Grand Marais Harbor. In this instance the clicks might be the smacking gum in the kitchen (not in my experience), tartar sauce in a squeeze bottle, and "optional" but included coleslaw. IMO herring should be grilled, pickled, or smoked. Frying (with thin dry breading) does not compliment the form. And also IMO chowder served within sight of sea gulls and fishing gear needs to have more fish in it. The mug was pretty and all, but "where's the fish (beef)?"

                    1. re: keg

                      In my culinary pursuits, there is no single universal law that applies to all places outside of whether or not the food on the plate is good. Whenever possible, I eat in everyplace from a five-star to out of the side of a van. I don't agree that cooks chewing gum and servers wearing perfume is necessarily any indication of anything. Yes, I would dread it in many places. But given context, anything may be acceptable or not acceptable based on the situation.

                      I find a lot of the criticisms of a place like Angry Trout to be a difference of opinion on expectations and goal. To me, this is one of those places that ISN'T trying to "strive to reach the highest level". It's a simple outlet for whatever the local purveyors were blessed enough to catch and harvest that day. Or make with their hands. I liken it to a Farmers Market, and that is where I find things reasonable that others may not. Do I care that my farmer is aesthetically pleasing? No. Nor do I care about the cooks and servers at Angry Trout (although in my experience, they have been generally pleasant and professional).

                      I really don't think Angry Trout is trying to compare to the "view restaurants" of the world. It just happens to have one because it's in a town on a harbor and they specialize in fish caught off the boats sharing the same dock. If I liken it to anything, it would be Beal's, or really any of the "real" lobster pounds in Maine. It's just as much about the non-restaurant work of the people.

                      And, by the way, I also found pan frying herring to be interesting and unconventional. It worked. Or "complimented the form" if you will. I guess we can officially throw this one in with Punch -- either you get it or you don't. Neither is any more right than the other.

                      1. re: MSPD

                        "Getting it." What I got was below average food on the plate. I experienced no perfume or gum smacking. I "get" the local sourcing thing, but that's no excuse for low quality execution. I wasn't expecting much more than lake fish and local ingredients. Good grub excuses many sins. Rough neighborhoods, lack of cleanliness, poor grooming, even perfume and smacking gum. Lobster pounds (my folks live in Maine) are not pretentious. AT puts themselves out there with a full page of philosophy and provenance.

                        Whether they're "trying to compare" or not to other view restaurants, and I'd guess they could care less, it's what the restaurant is. Some view restaurants base their success on the flow of tourists more than their food quality. Take Fisherman's Wharf for example.

                        I had high hopes for AT, and will try again.