Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on May 2, 2022.
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If you've spent much time in the Laurel Highlands, odds are good you've driven by Out of the Fire Cafe and did not give it a second glance.
This restaurant is located right off the turnpike at the Donegal exit, and is one of those places we've passed many times while traveling from home to Ohiopyle and other nearby attractions.
It took me many, many years, but I finally stopped for this one and now regret not visiting sooner.
Mushrom Soup and Smoked Salmon at Out of the Fire Cafe
The menu at Out of the Fire Cafe reads like a higher-end bistro with menu items like pulled pork sliders or mac & cheese, lump crab cakes, sea scallops, pork chop Milanese and more.
But during my visit, I had it on good authority to try two dishes that the restaurant is known for- their roasted mushroom soup and the smoked salmon. As I was visiting for lunch, I was fortunate enough to be able to order the smoked salmon as a sandwich (it is also available in a platter or salad) and ended up with a well-rounded meal.
The mushroom soup was the starter and was about as perfect of the style of soup as they come. The roasted mushrooms had a complex and hearty flavor profile, and the crusty bread, herbs, and pepper cracked on top really brought the dish together. A cup was a perfect size for a starter but is also one of those soups you could enjoy as a bowl on its own if you didn't have another signature option to move on to.
Shortly after finishing the soup, the smoked salmon sandwich came out, and the first thing you'll notice about this one is the size- it is loaded up with smoked salmon! Beyond the salmon, the sandwich is topped with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, roasted peppers, basil pesto mayonnaise, and greens.
While the salmon here is smoked, I would go as far as saying that it is more lightly smoked. You definitely get a smokiness in the fish, but it isn't too strong such that it overpowers the meal (especially considering the amount of fish that is packed into the sandwich). The additional toppings are perfect compliments to this flavor and end up being a delicious (and massive) sandwich.
For my side, I opted for the sweet potato fries and thought they were also quite good flavorwise but were not as crispy as others you can find and perhaps needed to be fried a bit longer. All things being equal, I was all-in on the sandwich here and treated the fries like an afterthought all the same (as it should be).
And if you really want more, this one is BYOB for wine bottles (only) not available at the restaurant!
Overall, Out of the Fire Cafe is one of those places you need to make the decision to visit on your next trip to the Laurel Highlands. Whether you visit for lunch on a late trip down or dinner on the trip home, this one is a really excellent option for a meal in the area.
Out of the Fire Cafe is located at 3784 PA 31 in Donegal, PA, just off the turnpike. I was a guest of the Laurel Highlands Visitor Bureau during my visit to the restaurant. As always, all opinions are my own.
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