Cedar Lodge Steakhouse and Grille started in 2009 in the location that used to be called “Downtown Barnes” Owners Collen and Scott Ruhman spent a good bit of time updating and remodeling and adding to the original location. It is a good sized building that houses a large u-shaped bar in a room that also has room for a couple tables, games and lounge furniture in front of a fireplace. It opens into the main dining room that is fairly bright with soft background music. The only televisions are in the bar area. Bare wood tables are polished to a high shine and fitted with comfortable chairs. Flat-paint plum walls work well with the copper metallic shiny ceiling. Walls are decorated with paintings and other objects. The full bar is available for order in the dining room and they provided a better than average wine list. The large menu was supplemented by a daily special offering. All dinner plates come with a trip to the salad bar that also offers a housemade soup, as well as seasonal vegetable and a choice of side dish. Our friendly server, Denise, turned out to be the owner’s sister and helped steer our order.
We ordered a couple of their appetizers and while we waited made a trip to the soup/salad counter. Soup of the day was sausage corn chowder. It was full of sausage and corn with a good consistency. It also had a lot of flavor.
The salad bar had a mix of lettuces and then ingredients to mix with it in addition to the traditional creamed herring, cottage cheese, bean salad and bread and butter pickles. The mix-in’s were constantly being replenished so they stayed nicely fresh. There was an assortment of dressings and I sampled the blue cheese which was mildly flavored but nice. Also on the bar are croutons and seeds.
Bread was served and it was cut pieces that had been lightly toasted. They were served with a cream cheese spread. The bread was soft and dense with a nice touch of crisp on the exterior.
Duck Bacon Wontons were made of wonton wraps filled with cream cheese, duck bacon and charred sweetcorn. They were filled with good flavors and the wrapper nicely crisp but the inside had a bit too much cream cheese in the mix for my taste. The shells had been fried to a wonderful crisp and were a bit heavier than the shrimp.
Shrimp Vannamei were pastry wrapped shrimp accented with ginger and fresh herbs served with a sweet chili sauce. The thin wrapper was really crisp around the perfectly cooked shrimp. The spicy, sweet sauce was a perfect dip to mix with the little treats. It was fun to eat and the shrimp pulled away from the shells easily. They were good.
Regali’s Filet Mignon was the biggest 9 ounce steak you’ve seen. The menu refers to it as “the Cadillac of steaks” and indeed it was. Incredibly tender and well marbled it was cooked perfectly. The husband of the couple that owns the place (Scott and Colleen Ruhman) cuts and ages all the steaks himself. Some cuts he will age 3-4 weeks and others up to 60 days. Sometimes he will actually have prime grade beef. We chose hash browns as a side and they were a bit too crisp for me but not greasy and tasted of potato. The seasonal vegetable was a wedge of acorn squash that was nicely cooked. The moist, tender and beefy steak was a real treat and by that point I was glad to not want to eat every bit of the potatoes.
We finished with homemade salted caramel brownie sundae. It was a modest piece of gooey, intensely chocolate brownie surrounded by a generous supply of ice cream decorated with caramel sauce. it was fudgey and cakey at the same time and was a total yum of a finish. I forgot how full I was after I tasted it. Yum!
We visited the place again and this time the service was not as polished. The young man seemed to be in too much of a hurry and demonstrated how important service is to your impression of a restaurant. We started with a couple Brandy Old Fashioned (a Wisconsin staple) served sour. They were good.
We then tried the Stuffed Mushroom appetizer that was Portabella mushrooms stuffed with wild rice, garlic sausage and cheddar cheese and drizzled with sweet chili sauce. They were listed as spicy, which I did not detect. They came 4 to an order and were quite tasty with the top portion of the wild rice getting a little crisp. Tasty.
After a trip to the salad bar we had the New York Strip which was listed as “the most indulgent steak in the Northwoods” and 15 oz. It was cooked nicely rare but the beef flavor did not come through like last time. It was fine but I’d go for the Filet if I visit again. We tried the baked potato as a side with sour cream. The potato was nicely cooked and came buttered with sour cream on the side. It was fine. We also had a side of Caramelized onions which were red onions and too hot and not well cooked enough to really enhance the steak.