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Tuesday September 30, 2014
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Karl's Cabin Reviewed

 

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The boisterously casual atmosphere would be less amusing if the food weren't a draw--but much of it is. Plan to fill up on a buttery whitefish and salmon pate (the best of a quartet of appetizers we sampled), nearly a dozen Michigan beers, and mostly hearty offerings spanning six large menu pages. Fish and chips here means fresh-tasting cod. A sweet-potato soup is savory and sweet. Lamb chops come alive in a zesty oregano marinade, and the massive half-rack of barbecue ribs proved delicious right down to the bone.

On the lighter side, salmon in a chardonnay sauce with lemon and capers was delectable, and the "forest salad" had crunchy house-roasted walnuts sprinkled among the dried cherries and blue cheese. I didn't care for the raspberry vinaigrette that came on the side, but my server willingly substituted the feta-studded house Greek dressing. The little dinner salads have homemade croutons in generous enough portions that you can pick around the less crispy ones. The buffalo burger was a lean treat; order it a tad rarer than usual to stand up to the char from the grill.

That would be the old-fashioned brick-based open grill sizzling away at dinnertime, just under a neon sign that announces "The Cabin" in red and blue script. To its side is an authentic-looking cut-stone hearth--topped by a large-screen television, tuned, on the Sunday night we visited, to a UFC cage fight. I watched a server deliver a tray of cute kiddie-meal spaghetti and meatball "sundaes" right under the screen. The kids were clearly charmed by their dinner choice; it was harder to tell what they thought when one TV combatant started bleeding from his eye. Britney Spears on the satellite radio channel provided a surreal soundtrack.

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