With tomato-melon gazpacho, lemongrass sorbet, Brazilian seafood stew and smoked salmon with ricotta dumplings, Lost Lake Lodge serves some of the Brainerd area’s most creative fare. Even some of the homemade breads, such as onion-dill rolls for savory cheeseburgers, are made from Minnesota spring wheat ground on-site at a vintage gristmill. The Lost Lake resort includes 13 cabins that are pretty basic but entail a fairly fancy food plan. Nonguests are also welcome to eat here, either in the pine-paneled dining room geared toward families or at the quieter lakeside space with a fireplace.
Breakfast favorites include huevos rancheros with tomatillo sauce on blue corn tortillas ($13) and pastries like homemade strawberry muffins, caramel rolls and white chocolate blueberry scones. Lunch service is mostly sandwiches, such as seared tuna on ciabatta with wasabi-cucumber slaw, and a few salads along the lines of smoked salmon Cobb. (We particularly like the thick, zippy sweet potato fries dusted with Aleppo pepper flakes.) Dinner guests can consider a casual menu, but most opt for the three- to six-course prix-fixe meals with option wine pairings. A typical three-course dinner ($39) might feature walleye cakes with broccoli-pistachio slaw, a palette-cleansing ginger rosemary sorbet, and a choice of entrees that includes walleye papillote, braised beef ribs and sweet corn risotto, or lamb loin with a blackberry-thyme glaze.
The best finale? We’re not sure whether it’s the Italian plum pie with mascarpone custard or the loons singing outside the restaurant.