Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Scales in the Walleye Sandwich

In case anyone is wondering why I posted the following question to Facebook, the full story is below.

Question: "OK, midwesterners... are there usually SCALES on a "skin on" walleye snadwich? Our waitress thinks so. I am skeptical."

All the answers came back, "NO. There shouldn't be scales."

I think many people thought I was nuts, so here's what happened:

I was having happy hour, followed by dinner, at the Orpheum lobby. One of our group ordered a walleye sandwich. When he began to eat it, he started spitting out scales. He said there were quite a few, not just random scales. We urged him to say something to the waitress, which he eventually did.

When she came back, she seemed sort of irritated, and told us that the walleye was "skin on," so scales were normal. We were all doubtful, but decided to not argue the point, and my friend switched out his sandwich for a ruben.

After the waitress left, we debated this point for a bit, and I said, "I'll post it on Facebook, and see what the collective knowledge base thinks."

Indeed, no one thinks a walleye sandwich should have copious scales, skin on or not.

Word to the Orpheum: You need to clean the fish better, or get another supplier, if it is supposed to be ready to serve.


  1. I am a professional chef, working my entire career in the Midwest. I have served Walleye in just about every capacity and the answer is a definite "NO!" You will get the occasional walleye in that has a few random scales on it, but even then a good chef will check it and remove the scales. This sounds like a case of terrible laziness. I would either call or send a message to the manager, making sure not to get shuffled off to a functionary and I would make sure they understand that it wasn't just a few scales and how the staff reacted to it.

    Were this my restaurant, or just about any other that I know of, the sandwich would have been replaced with no question. I have replaced items that were exactly as they should be simply because the customer was not satisfied. This kind of story makes me sad, because it reflects poorly on our whole industry.

    I know that it doesn't help much, but I would like to apologize for my industry and hope that this won't scare anyone away from walleye, especially since I consider it one of the best fish around.

    Adam Haen

  2. Don't worry, Adam, I'm not holding it against all walleye. I've had many good walleye sandwiches and dinners, as has the person who ordered the sandwich that night. And generally, the Orpheum has very good food, although they have dropped a few of my favorite dishes.