Gray Duck, the downtown St. Paul restaurant with the most Minnesotan restaurant name of all time, is switching its menu focus from global comfort food to zero in on Minnesota fare. Part of the Madison group of restaurants, led by Top Chef contestant Justin Sutherland, Gray Duck first opened with comfort foods from around the world, including a legendary burger. Before getting too worked up about that burger know, the saucy Animal is saying put, but much of the menu now reads like a greatest hits of regional dishes.
There will be hotdish, served as mom intended, with tater tots on top. A wrap is folded together with fresh lefse, as opposed to the standard flour tortilla. There’s a supperclub style Prime Rib French Dip and Swedish meatballs with creamy mashed potatoes, among others.
As with many Madison projects, Sutherland is working with chef Donald Gonzalez, who also oversaw Gray Duck when it first launched. The experience between the two chefs, one a culinary celebrity on the rise and the other a French Laundry trained award winner in his own rite, means that these Minnesota dishes are getting a bit more elevated than grandma’s hotdish and the whole cream-of-something situation.
Sutherland noted that the name chance comes in line with the proper, if slightly less popular playing of the children’s game, where they sit on a circle and one tags the heads of others. He said, [There’s] “Not much is more Minnesotan than Duck Duck Gray Duck.”