Cuisine: American, Steak, Ribs, Chops
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking, Patio Dining
Atmosphere: The Blue Heron is a very large restaurant, with a handful of dining areas surrounding a centrally-located bar area. There are several large-screen TV’s on the walls throughout the restaurant. The decor of the restaurant was one that had no apparent theme, but was painted with warm masculine colors to go along with the wooden tables and chairs.
Menu: Appetizers include Calamari, Sante Fe Quesadilla, Muchos Nachos, Onion Rings, Wings, Chicken Satay, Walleye Fingers, Prime Rib Asparagus Wrap, Grilled BBQ Salmon, Steak Bites, Bruschetta and Spinach & Artichoke Dip.
Salads include Fresh Tomato Mozzarella, Chef, Taco, Caesar, Wedge, and Pear & Bleu Cheese. Soups include French Onion and a Soup du Jour.
Entrees include Grilled Fajitas, Shrimp Scampi, Broasted Chicken, Walleye, Filet Mignon, Ribs, Ribeye, Pork Chops and Chicken Florentine Lasagna Rolls.
Pasta dishes offered at Blue Heron are the New Orleans (Jambalaya), Seafood Linguine, Bolognese, Pasta Primavera, Spaghetti & Meatballs, Chicken Alfredo, and Caprese.
There is also a large selection of sandwiches including the Prime Rib French Dip, Old Fashioned Club, Prime Rib Philly Cheese Steak, Grilled Chicken, Buffalo Chicken, BBQ Pork, Walleye, Cuban, Italian Sub and Glazed Hickory Chicken. Wraps include Southwestern Chicken, Smoked Turkey & Avocado, and Buffalo Chicken. There are also a number of Specialty Burgers including the Blue Heron Burger (cheese, sauteed mushrooms, fried onion, smoked bacon, jalapenos, pineapple, lettuce and tomato).
Price guide: Appetizers $8-12 Salads $9-10 Entrees $13-24 Pasta $10-14 Sandwiches $8-11
What we ordered: We started with the Nachos, which was a huge pile of chips loaded with sauteed peppers, jalapenos, green onions, black beans, tomatoes and seasoned ground beef, with guacamole and sour cream on the side. The portion was huge, with all of the ingredients stacked on top of the chips. The nachos were good, but it was hard to get both chips and ingredients together in the same bite. There seemed to be cheese baked only on top.
We also ordered the Chicken Satay, which I was disappointed to discover was not what I consider chicken satay at all! Not Thai Satay, anyway. The chicken skewers were very good, nice and tender, but the flavor was distinctly teriyaki. Apparently the kitchen was all out of the Thai Cucumber salad that traditionally accompanies Satay, so they substituted it with coleslaw. Both were very good, just not what I was expecting.
For my dinner, I had the Mushroom and Swiss Burger. The burger was quite large and pretty good. It had a decent amount of fresh sauteed mushrooms and Swiss cheese, served on a toasted bun. The burger was ordered medium-well and it was quite pink in the middle. The few thick-cut fries they gave me were hot, but sparse.
One of my companions ordered the Bacon Swiss Burger
One of my companions had the Walleye Sandwich. This is actually what I had ordered for my meal, but I missed the description that said it had American Cheese, so I was unable to eat it. It was unfortunate for me that such a nice fillet of walleye was covered with a food I have a strong aversion to. My companion was nice enough to swap the burger for the walleye and enjoyed it. The fillet was large and perfectly browned with a light breading.
Another companion had the pork chops, which were very thick and tender, and perfectly seasoned with maple glazed brown sugar. The green beans were also sauteed in a sweet glaze and ad a nice texture to them. The baked potato was not nearly as good as the rest of the meal. It was old, hard, dry and had obviously been sitting in the tinfoil since the dinner rush many hours earlier.
Service: I had heard such bad things about the service at the Blue Heron that my expectations were not very high. I am sorry to say that the service on my visit was even worse than I could have expected! In fact, I am going to go as far as to say I had the worst service of any restaurant I have ever done a review on at this point in time (about 75 restaurants!). My companions and I arrived at the restaurant shortly after 9pm, long after the dinner crowd had gone. There were only a few other diners in the restaurant, but several people having cocktails in the bar area. The hostess greeted us in a friendly manner, and brought our party of four to a table in the bar area. We asked for a table that was close to one of the large-screen TV’s so that we would be able to watch a Pre-Season Vikings game that was in progress. After we were seated, it took at least ten minutes for our server to come to our table to take our drink orders. Drinks took at least ten minutes and she had forgotten one of them, so that drink didn’t arrive until 25 minutes after it we ordered. Our server was friendly, but did not go out of her way to give us helpful suggestions of what to order. Appetizers arrived approximately 20 minutes after we ordered, however the restaurant made a substitution for an item that they were apparently out-of, without consulting us first. Half-way through appetizers, the TV that was showing the Vikings came was changed to something else. Our party asked three different people at three different times if they would kindly put our game back on. All three requests were ignored, despite reassurance that they would change the channel back. We waited, waited, and waited some more for our entrees, our server was nowhere in sight. We were left without refills for quite some time. Dinner was finally served about 50 minutes after we ordered. Our server was polite when we did see her, but that seemed rare.
Overall Impression: I am a resident of Hugo and had been waiting many years for a nice restaurant to move into town, so I was incredibly disappointed with my first visit to the Blue Heron because the service was so bad. The food was good enough, but certainly didn’t outweigh the amount of time it took between ordering and eating.