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Aug 11, 2006 01:21 AM

Yosemite Ranch [Fresno]

Been meaning to post this before it slipped my mind (common occurance as of late). Seven of us had dinner there a couple of weeks ago for a BD celebration. It's a Dave Fansler operation (the original Tahoe Joe's, and 3-4 other local spots) at the NE corner of Cedar & Shepard.

Didn't get to taste (or even recall, see first sentence) any other entrees than my wifes Prime Rib, which was quite good, but to this day can't quit thinking about the Skirt Steak I had, med. rare. My first experience with this cut was about 30 years ago, where a butcher in a little meat market in Aptos (near Manuel's, iirc) told us that's what those in his profession preferred. Perfectly cooked, full of flavor, damn, I want one right now! Side dishes were good, strangely they offer real mashed potatoes with garlic (excellent), baked potato (likewise), or some sort of creamy (instant?) style, didn't bother to ask further. Price was reasonable, mine was 18.99, wifes Prime Rib (small cut) a couple of bucks cheaper. Will definately return.

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  1. I believe that Dave Fansler is a consultant to the restaurant, not the owner. I understand his sister Paula is the managing partner of the LLC owner. I don't know why, maybe his previous problems might have impacted something.

    1 Reply
    1. re: FresnoFacts

      Dave is part owner of the place. Most of the funding was put up by an investment group. The head Chef is also part owner, although his name slipped my mind. They have some of the best prime rib I have had in a long time. Also, if you get a chance, try the tomato basil soup, I can't recall what night of the week it was served on, but it was AMAZING.

    2. I was wondering about this place...not much of a carnivore myself (don't know if you can tell by my posts, but I don't eat red meat) but always looking for a place for family and hubby!

      How do you think it stacks up next to Tahoe Joe's?

      1. Wife, wife's family, and I finally tried Yosemite Ranch a few days ago for dinner. Wife had a chicken dip (like a French dip sandwich but with chicken instead of beef). She reports that the chicken had a good, smoky flavor & was moist. Chicken au jus was broth or stock with other flavors, too, perhaps shallot. Came with potato fries which were crunchy.

        Based on PolarBear's experience (above) I ordered Dave's skirt steak. For a cut of meat that's usually heavily marinaded to tenderize it and is sometimes cut into smaller pieces (a la fajitas) I was surprised at how tender this steak was. Mine was slightly undercooked (I ordered it medium rare and it was pretty darned red inside) but that's a very forgivable "mistake" (or misteak?) compared to overcooking it. (Other steaks brought to the table that were ordered medium were closer to medium rare, too.) I'm not really complaining since I ate the whole thing without wanting to send it back. In fact, I plowed through it because it was pretty darned tasty.

        Side was the mashed potatoes (not the smashed potatoes, which, as mentioned above, is an option). Potatoes had some green onion and garlic in them, and were covered with a yummy poultry gravy with some wine or liquor in it.

        Our overall assessment? We liked the restaurant enough that we would definitely like to return and try some other menu items--especially some of the sandwiches, perhaps at lunch time. The steak and chicken were quite good. But (and this is a fairly large "but") we also agreed that the food we were served was much too salty. My steak was salty (the marinade, perhaps?). My gravy was a bit too salty. Wife's chicken was too salty. Her au jus was too salty. Her potato fries were too salty.

        We liked Yosemite Ranch as much as we like Tahoe Joe's, but we wouldn't say we like it more than Tahoe Joe's, and we wouldn't say we like Tahoe Joe's more than Yosemite Ranch. In our estimation they are equally good, one not better than the other.

        The decor of Yosemite Ranch looked a lot like Tahoe Joe's: kitschy though perhaps not quite as kitschy as Tahoe Joe's.

        The menu at Yosemite Ranch appears to be broader than Tahoe Joe's. For someone who doesn't like steak or beef there are many more options at Yosemite Ranch.

        Yosemite Ranch Steak & Seafood
        E Champlain Dr, Fresno, CA, USA, Fresno, CA

        1 Reply
        1. re: alanstotle

          BF and I have been a couple times to Yosemite Ranch and we always order the same two items (creatures of habit!!) because they are consitently delicious, the prime rib and the rib salad (strange concept, I know, but the perfect meal of 6-7 ribs over a huge salad). The prime rib is your typical meal, it is a dish they are known for. But the ribs are phenonmenal!! Slow cooked, sauce is wonderful, and the meat falls off the bone and retains all moisture.

        2. I'm resurfacing this thread because we are going to Yosemite Ranch later in the week for dinner (had no say in choice of restaurant) with a group of 8-10.

          From searching the board, sounds like best choices are Dave's Skirt Steak and the ribs? Some of the other posts mention prime rib, but on their web site, I couldn't find it on the menu...? Has anyone had their sweet potato fries? From an earlier visit to Fresno, I loved Max's version.

          7 Replies
          1. re: souvenir

            I believe you are right, Max's did set the standard for SPF in our region. Recall seeing mention of some others but seem to be experiencing another multitasking memory malfunction.

            1. re: PolarBear

              :) Don't want to make that multitasking memory function worse, but do you remember how the wine list is at Yosemite Ranch? And have you been back anytime recently?

              1. re: souvenir

                I can't say that I remember what's on the list there, other than it's mostly mid range. However, if you check at Vino 100 that's a few doors down they were running a (mid week?) special where if you bought the bottle there, corkage was waived at Yosemite Ranch.

                1. re: tavmark

                  That's good to know. Thanks much!

                2. re: souvenir

                  Like tavmark, can't recall what was listed but I think I found a decent red btg to go with the skirt steak. The Vino 100 connection works the other way too, iirc, you can sit in there and do a wine tasting and order from YR. Please report back on your experience.

                    1. re: souvenir

                      Reporting back. There were 8 of us. Service in both the bar area and at the table was really good, noteworthy.

                      I ordered the skirt steak, and also tried the rib eye and pork chops. I'm hoping that it was just an off night for the skirt steak and rib eye. The skirt steak was cooked appropriately but it was a thicker cut than I am used to for skirt steak, and much more chewy than would be ideal. The rib eye on the other hand, was thinner than would be expected for that cut and had some gristle, as opposed to marbling, in it. Flavors okay, quality seemed lower than I expected.

                      The pork chops, on the other hand, worth making a detour to eat, lovely flavor and quality.

                      Sides tried:
                      one of the mashed or smashed potato options, can't remember which one. Followed the recommendation of the server about which was the better potato option and they were pretty good. Also had the "wok seared" green beans; these were a big disappointment. Tasted like they were frozen green beans, and then that weird almost mushy texture that results when frozen green beans are cooked. No wok searing flavor detected.

                      Also tried:
                      baby green salad - good, nice combo of flavors
                      and clam chowder - nothing outstanding but pretty good

                      We brought wine, but I did have a nice glass of sauvignon blanc at the bar and checked out the wine list. While not extensive, there were a number of varietal options which was great to see. The markup varied from well-priced to over-priced; had we not brought wine, we would have been able to work with the list.

                      So would I go back? I wouldn't go out of my way to go there, but if we were going back, I would hope the pork chops were on the menu.

            2. Went to Yosemite Ranch last nite finally. We have been meaning to get there but my boss
              had given me a gift card so we didnt waste any time using it. First of all, that is a good looking restaurant. Big parchment lights and the tree over the bar were neat. Bartenders were friendly and they had a nice crowd. When we were sat our waiter explained about the menu and how they cook over coastal oak. It gave us a a sensation that "hey, this place knows what they're doing." We had a trout appetizer that was freakin delicious.
              I had the grilled Salmon and my wife had the twin filets. The complimentaryt salads brought to us were far better than anything I've had at any restaurant in Fresno that I normally have to pay extra for. Both of our meals were yummy and we decided to make this our regular "go out" place. Their prices also seemed very reasonable for what you get
              which might explain why they were so busy.