We knew that staying in a hotel on its opening weekend would mean we'd experience some glitches, and Fire Lake unfortunately stands out as the biggest one. Its menu is impressive. The "most important meal of the day" menu includes freshly squeezed juices, smoothies, Lavazza coffee, homemade yogurt and granola, breakfast sandwiches, skillets, egg dishes, and griddled dishes like pancakes and waffles. You'll find several nods to Minnesota, too, including wild rice pancakes served with chokecherry syrup and Minnesota back bacon, and the chorizo lefse wrap, spiked with tomato jam and Tilsit cheese. We sampled the warm ricotta beignets dusted in cinnamon sugar, and they were divine; so was the yogurt, fruit and granola parfait and rosti potatoes.
Our server was relaxed and friendly, but seemed a little thrown by our special requests. Could we get a side of grapefruit? She pointed to a citrus gratin entree with cottage cheese and seemed flummoxed at the question. Peanut butter? Similar reaction. And this simple breakfast took about an hour to get and eat and cost $38 with tip.
We had a similar experience in the bar at dinnertime; the server didn't seem entirely confident, and the bison burger we ordered arrived so dry that we gave up after two bites. The white bean hummus appetizer served with veggies was delicious; the chocolate dark chocolate truffle tart for dessert was outstanding. The full, reasonably priced menu includes grilled burgers and fish ($13-$16), sandwiches, soups and salads ($6-$10), and pizzas and small plates for sharing ($9-$14). Minnesota nods include the Minnesota walleye burger, Minnesota wild rice soup and a Minnesota poutine, all served in a dining room with the walls and ceiling covered in reclaimed barn wood.
The verdict? We love the setting and concept, but we'll have to go back in a few months and see if they've worked out their opening weekend kinks before we can recommend it.