Drive about 15 minutes up the North Shore from Duluth, and you'll find yourself far enough away to forget you started in a city. The New Scenic Cafe is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. A new build-out in front of the restaurant provides a comfy place to wait for a table when needed, a couple seats overlooking Lake Superior and Scenic Highway 61.
Once seated alongside the natural wood, for-sale artwork and happy customers, you'll be faced with a variety of choices found only here. My dining partner chose the Chicken & Waffle, a piled mass of brunch on a plate. It's served with a fried egg, fried chicken strips, prosciutto, maple bourbon syrup and a dropper bottle of Chalula hot sauce. The waffle was soft, the chicken crispy. Every bite was worth attention, plate (almost) licked clean.
I chose the Salmon Burger, served with cucumber, cilantro, wasabi mayo, lime on a black brioche. The thinly sliced pickled cucumbers provide a nice tartness. The salmon edges were crisp, the overall flavor mild. The bun, dyed black with squid ink, makes for an odd impression. It's soft and tastes nothing of ink, however. Mine turned out to be a bit too soft as it fell apart. I was left the cut up my burger with a fork. No matter, however; it was delicious. And the drive back home was just right.
New Scenic Cafe
5461 North Shore Drive