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Jul 31, 2007 09:17 PM

Lake Tahoe's West Shore Cafe - YIKES!

Let's face it, it's a gorgeous location. Boating in for dinner, dining al fresco
on the pier with ample heat lamps, watching the reflection of the sunset across
the lake and a beautifully appointed Inn and restaurant building. Awesome!!

But $45-$50 entrees in a casual mountain resort?? I think they are trying to
re-coop the cost of the delays and over expenditure of the development. What are
they thinking?

I knew ahead of time that the restaurant was considered pricey but we were looking for a special evening. And..............I was still shocked at the menu prices.

Our fellow diner of 6 is in the wine industry and laughed when he saw the wine
list. "He's got guts" was his response.

The evening's menu addition was a Kobe beef and lobster "Surf and Turf" at
...hold your hat......$115.......really.....$115 for an entree!!!!!

The food was beautifully presented and excellently prepared. No one had a
complaint and everything was truly delicious.

Our choices:
montasio cheese, black walnuts, asian pear
santa barbara spot prawns, basil crème fraîche
truffle gnocchi, white port sauce
golden beets, grilled baby octopus, olive vinaigrette

(we shared 3 apps and 1 entree)

Although it was quite dark when we were served, I saw beautifully prepared:
little gem lettuce, parmesan crisp, creamy anchovy vinaigrette
baby artichoke barigoule, beech mushrooms, parsley pistou
caramelized sunchoke, asparagus, truffle cabernet sauce

Dessert choices were equally tasty:
chef’s accompaniments, walnut raisin bread
lemon verbena ice cream, hazelnut praline
strawberries, orange zest cookie
ice creams & sorbet

The service was quite poor, however. Our head waiter was awkward, kept interrupting our
conversations and had an attitude that he needed to do so. A request for bread from a very hungry diner was curtly met with "when i'm done." Simple requests for
things like turning the heater down were treated as bothersome. We ordered 3 apps. and they were all delivered at once (even though we requested that they be spaced out since we were sharing). When I tried to surreptitiously inform someone that it was our guests birthday, I could not find a single member of our team and had to inform the bartender. A request for only 3 of the 4 choices of ice cream was answered with "I'm not sure the chef will be willing" (he eventually was willing). Nothing that matches with the caliber of establishment that they are trying to achieve.

Our portion of the bill came to close to $200. We won't be returning often. This is a shame because we travel here very often and would love to have found a exciting new spot to visit on our frequent visits.The area is aching for some new, approachable and exciting restaurant "blood" since Wild Goose went private.

I miss the old West Shore Cafe in the tent.

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  1. Thanks for the report. We've stopped even trying to find a decent, fairly priced place at Lake Tahoe. We tend to head for Truckee, but goodbye lake view.

    2 Replies
    1. re: salutlemonde

      Prawns from Santa Barbara? New to me - no one here claims this is a local specialty. Thanks for the report - and glad at least it was fine dining. That is almost worth the price because mediocre is what really is not worth $25-30. Mediocre is better at IHOP, which is good for what it is ....... and cheap.

      1. re: glbtrtr

        spot prawns are indeed fished up and down the Central coast, and if they are freshly caught, are quite delicious. They are wild caught and can be expensive, (though not expensive enough that I would expect an entree of them to cost $50).

    2. Sad, but not surprising to hear about the service. It seems that the poor level of service at the lake is the status quo.

      Had lunch at west shore a few weeks back. My experience matches yours, almost exactly, except that I felt as though I would rather pay the higher west shore prices for an interesting menu and nicely done food, than just few dollars less for a dirty run down facility in which the attention to detail with the food seems to be secondary. The service issue seems to be separate from the price as that can and should be compensated for in the gratuity.

      While you might shudder at paying the prices, at least the quality of the food matches considering the price quality ratio around the rest of the lake. While I haven't been able to experience all places, it seems that anywhere you go the price is high while the menu is uninspired, the food average at best, and the service lackadaisical at best, snotty and inattentive at worst.

      Perhaps if diners at the lake would not settle for less most of the time, then the standard would be higher.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jonich24

        I have to disagree that there are no other worthy eating establishments in Lake Tahoe. Yes, the prices are a bit high but I don't agree that the whole area is filled with mediocrity. I don't think that the diners in the area "settle for less," accept "poor level of service as the status quo" or that the only other options are "dirty run down facilities."

        We were here for 5 weeks last summer and had many pleasurable experiences. I chronicled our hits and misses in this thread:

        and have visited a few others since then. I'm sure that there a many more gems that we have yet to try.

        We do expect to pay more for entrees there ($20-$30 on average) and thought the West Shore Cafe would only be $5 or $10 more. We were shocked to see $20 more per entree.

        I was also shocked to see the price of rooms at the attached Inn running from $250/night for one of the 2 guest rooms midweek and up to $850/night for a suite. I do wish them the best. I'm assuming that they are speculating there is an untapped market in the area and will be able to survive catering to only that clientele.

        Maybe I'm wrong but as a frequent Lake Tahoe visitor who eats out often, I would think that I would be more the market they should target. Oh well, their loss....there are other options, just not that many good ones to boat too.