For anyone looking for more current info on the food at Wuksachi Lodge, I can report on a few meals during the past week. The wild mushroom soup (on the regular menu) and the tomato bisque (a special) were both very good, probably because they were full of cream. The smaller size soup is surprisingly ample, and filling (probably because it's full of cream). The Wuksachi salad is standard issue, but be warned that the dressing, a pear walnut vinaigrette, is only for those who prefer their dressing to double as dessert. The Caesar salad is also fine, and its dressing tastes like dressing.
The trout was ok, a little overcooked. I prefer my trout sauteed over high heat so that the skin is crisp; here, the skin was soggy and greasy. It was served with white and wild rice, which my companion swore was Rice-a-Roni - I don't think I've ever had Rice-a-Roni, so I took his word for it. And green beans with almonds. A very safe and nonthreatening dish, all around.
There are two brunch buffet options: full and continental. The continental includes various cereals, breads, pastries, fruit and yogurt. The full adds eggs (cold), potatoes (limp), breakfast meats, pancakes & french toast (I didn't have those last three). There's a $5 price difference, so unless you absolutely must have your cold eggs and limp potatoes in the morning, learn from my mistake and go for the continental.
Prices are moderate, especially considering you're pretty much trapped unless you want to have a sad egg & cheese sandwich or frozen pizza at the Lodgepole Market, which is somewhat shockingly expensive, and also lousy.
In addition to B, L and D, the restaurant will prepare a boxed lunch for you to have while you're out hiking in the park. You can order the night before and select a time in the morning to pick up. You have a choice of several sandwiches, fruits, chips, cookies and a drink. It's not anything super gourmet, but good and convenient.
The Sturdy Wench and I spent a weekend at the Lodge last year and ate at the restaurant. AIR, dinners were much better than breakfasts or lunches. The food was never bad, but was pretty flat some meals--no excitement or passion, just recipe-following. The mixed drinks were well-made.
Also, staff is a much greater issue there since waitrons live on-site, and I remember our waiter saying the staff burn-out rate was very high, especially in the winter, when we went. This would account for the uneven service we received.
If you want to "get away from it all," WL is a good place to go if you like the mountains. You'd better like to hike, tho--IIRC not a lot to do besides that unless you're comfortable being a lodge bunny.
When we were there, there was no cellular service available, so no cell calls to distract you. I would go there again.
I was rather disappointed by the whole Wuksachi experience, especially their breakfast (what's worse than overcooked & dry buffet breakfast, you ask? Lukewarm buffet breakfast kept in chafing dishes with no heaters underneath!)
To be fair, as long as you don't expect a fancy resort (let alone a top-tier restaurant) you will survive. Can't beat the 4-mile drive to the General Sherman tree, the largest tree in the world. As you point out, it's pretty much the only game in town.
Here's their dinner menu. On it you can find cute red hearts for items low in fat (I noted them with ‘LF’), and green leaves for organic or sustainable food source, which I noted with ‘OS’. They do offer ordinary California wines by the glass $5.50 - $10 (Fess Parker viognier), ditto wines by the bottle $21 – $46 (Murrieta’s Well white Vendimia, Livermore ), cocktails $5.50 – $7.25 (Gold margarita – gold tequila, Cointreau orange liqueur, up, frozen, or on the rocks), beer $4.00 - $8.75 (Samuel Smith Organic Lager, Samuel Smith Organic Ale) and soft drinks, coffee (Royal Cup, shade-grown coffee) and tea (Tazo) $2.00 - $2.50.
Chef: Jaime Rigau, CSC
Sous chef : Marty Thompson
Oysters Sequoia - four roasted jumbo oysters, creamed spinach, house-cured bacon, zesty dill harvati cheese $9.75
Chicken satay - marinated chicken skewers, grilled pineapple, spicy peanut sauce $8.00 (LF)
Vegan hummus – house-made garlic artichoke hummus, pita chips $7.00
Crab avocado quesadilla - cheddar and jack cheese, whole wheat tortilla, pico de gallo $9.00 (OS)
Crab remoulade - wild caught blue crab, roasted corn, tomato, basil $9.00 (OS)
House-made chorizo - warm flour tortillas, San Jose queso fresco, pico de gallo $7.00
Soup du jour
Sweet potato ancho soup - savory sweet potatoes with a mild ancho chilli flavor, large $5.75, small $4.00
Wuksachi salad - spring greens, prosciutto, feta cheese, pear-walnut vinaigrette $5.50 (OS, LF)
Summer spinach salad - baby spinach, fresh strawberries, cypress grove goat cheese, spicy candied pecans citrus chili vinaigrette, $6.00 (LF)
Asian chicken salad - baby spinach, grilled teriyaki chicken, toasted peanuts, sesame-ginger dressing, baby mandarin oranges, crispy noodles $8.00 (LF)
Caesar salad - roasted garlic Caesar dressing, crisp romaine parmesan cheese $5.50
Organic spring greens - choice of dressing $4.50 (OS, LF)
California Cobb – Boston lettuce wedge, blue cheese, bacon, tomato, avocado, sliced egg $7.00
Add grilled chicken to any salad $3.50
16 oz cowboy steak – char-grilled giant bone-on ribeye, buttermilk mashed potatoes, house vegetables, cabernet-shallot butter $32.75
(Rober Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon)
Silliman chicken – lightly floured breast, whole grain brown rice, sautéed artichoke hearts, tomato, mushrooms, pan sauce $22.00 (OS)
(Talus Pinot Noir)
Grilled chicken – southwestern marinated breast, sautéed mushroom, fingerling potato, corn, pico de gallo $17.50 (OS, LF)
BBQ tri-tip – 8 oz of choice tri-tip, buttermilk mashed potatoes, house vegetables, house-made BBQ sauce $21.00
(Callaway Coastal Merlot)
Portabella “club” – marinated grilled mushrooms, tomato, tofu, basil, provolone cheese, whole grain brown rice $19.75 (OS, LF)
(Beringer Pinot Noir)
Vegetarian pasta – fresh chive – garlic – black pepper penne, wild mushroom ragout $18.75 (LF)
Pork tenderloin – pan seared, buttermilk mashed potato, Swiss chard, warm cognac apple sauce, cherry glaze $20.00
(Canyon Road Shiraz)
Southwest pasta – cilantro jalapeno linguini, with sautéed onion, tomato, peppers, and garlic, tequila, cheddar and jack cheeses, crispy tortilla strips $20.00
(Add grilled chicken $3.50)
Trout piccata – pan seared red mountain fillet, basmati rice, baby bok choy, caper-white wine sauce $19.50 (OS, LF)
(Chateau St. Jean Fume Blanc)
Seared mahi-mahi – organic citrus basmati rice, house vegetables, toasted peanuts, cured Virginia ham, and scallions, lemon brown butter sauce $20.50 (OS)
(Callaway Sauvignon Blanc)
Spring lamb rack – seared lamb rack, roasted potato, house vegetables, feta mint pesto $27.00
(Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir)
Filet mignon – char-grilled 8 oz cut, buttermilk mashed potatoes, house vegetables, Cabernet Sauvignon demi-glace $32.75
(Parducci Cabernet Sauvignon)
(A charge of $3.50 applied to all split entrees)
Creme brulee – homemade custard with caramelized sugar $5.25
Chocolate mousse – topped with whipped cream $6.25
New York style cheesecake – with strawberry sauce $6.25
Chocolate decadence – triple fudge cake on strawberry and chocolate sauce $6.25
Chocolate or vanilla ice cream – try it with Frangelico, Chambord, Grand Marnier or Kahlua $2.25
Chocolate-caramel sundae – two scoops vanilla, rich chocolate and caramel, whipped cream, cherry on top $5.75
Grilled cheese sandwich $3.75
Peanut butter and jelly $4.00
Cheese pizza $5.75
Hot dog $3.75
Fish sticks $5.25
Children’s beverage – milk, soda, or juice $1.25
Children’s ice cream – chocolate or vanilla $1.75
I've eaten there several times, and have always had a very nice meal. The prices are moderate, and the view out the rear windows of the dining room is outstanding. They serve 3 meals a day, dinner is a little fancier, B&L are pretty standard fare.
I love staying there at the lodge, because you can literally hike from your room in any direction and see amazing countryside. The main lodge and restaurant has great ambiance. Large fireplaces, comfy couches, etc.