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THE EATBEAT: HoDo rates the honor roll with menu, ambiance

Marilyn Hagerty
A three-course “prix fixe” lunch caught my eye when I was studying the menu at the HoDo Lounge in Fargo.

The HoDo was my choice when I was meeting grandson Jack Golden (JG) and his friend, Abbey Leier (AL), for lunch.
 They are college students, hungry and in a hurry. Both JG and AL ordered and quickly finished HoDo burgers that are made with what is described as local bison. Then, there is lettuce, tomato, grilled onion and Wisconsin cheddar. And the burgers are served on large buns. There’s also a wild rice burger on the menu. But it was a three-course lunch on the menu that attracted me. So, I went for it and found it to be the best lunch I have eaten in ages. It began with spring prairie chicken and mushroom porridge. I approached it with caution. I found the crispy chicken skin brought a different and crunchy taste. And the second course, a spring frittata, was equally interesting. A combination of ham, spinach, fontinella, spring greens, ginger pesto, golden and red beets.
 The food was light. It was tasty. And it was served well by a waitress named Molly who said she had grandparents in Grand Forks. The final course was a light and appealing ice cream soda. It was rather small and described as a house-made citrus thyme soda with vanilla ice cream. While I would shun a gloppy dessert at noon, this was a perfect closure. There was a tangy and not-too-sweet taste about it.I would go back to the HoDo lounge and choose it above other places where I have from time to time had lunch in Fargo.
 This is a place on the main floor of the restored Hotel Donaldson where you can sip coffee or spirits. You have a view from windows on two sides of the passing scene. There is a choice of seating at tables with enough space for relaxing and good conversation. Hotel Donaldson also has a dining room open in the evening. It’s open from 5 to 9 p.m. and until 10 p.m. on weekends. I found it as one of the best places for dining in Fargo when I traveled there a year or so ago with the crew from Sanders in Grand Forks. There, I watched with interest to see how the pros — real restaurant people — order when they go out. And I learned how they study other menus — very carefully. They are knowledgeable about meat. To me, lamb is lamb. Chefs want to know what kind of lamb and where it’s from. Restaurant people know how to seek out and appreciate good food.
 There is little to criticize at the HoDo. You leave with the feeling you would like to come back.

HoDo Lounge

Hotel Donaldson

1st & Broadway, Fargo

Telephone: (701) 478-1000.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily with 2 a.m. closing following Saturday business

Report card: This place rates the honor roll for its luncheon menu, pleasant ambiance and reasonable prices. Signature item is the Bison Burger on the menu since Day 1. And the head chef is Ryan Nitschke.

Reach Hagerty at or (701) 772-1055.