Thursday, August 7

The Big Water Grille - Tahoe

As I write this post, I realize I just recommended this place to someone going to Tahoe and I called it Big River Grille which is actually a place in Reno. I am not keen on the name and the signage of this establishment yet it is a more upscale restaurant in Incline Village. 

Pilsner served in a glass with it's own name? Cool. 
On the right is a disappointing virgin strawberry daquiri. It tasted like a strawberry smoothie, which is fine except there's no element of mocktail in that. Since I don't drink anymore, I've been struggling with the non-alcoholic drink options many bar and restaurants offer. This makes me appreciate Paper Plane so much more. It's so disheartening to not drink but want to hang out with your friends who do drink, and then go to a bar with them only to find your only options are soda, juice, or sometimes if you're lucky, a virgin mojito.

It seems so bare to write a post about just two entrees and no appetizers. With entrees like these, one does not need an appetizer.

($32) Cast Iron Duck Breast in poultry jus with farros and grilled belgian endive and celery root puree
The duck breast was moist and salty (there is no way to use those two words without a sexual overtone, is there?) Anyway, they're tender, juicy, savory. The poultry skin, oh the crispy poultry skin. That's my favorite part of the bird when it's cooked just right. The celery root puree was amazing with a smooth consistency. When braised this way, the belgian endives taste more like the stems of romaine lettuce but maybe that's ok for a side character in the dish. The jus was a tad on the salty side. It was the farro that was the weaker link of this otherwise fantastic dish. While farro doesn't taste exactly like barley, it has that heavy feel in your mouth. Not literal weight-heavy, not bread and pasta carbs-heavy, but heavy in the sense that you need to do more chewing than you care to for a little grain and then you won't want to chew anything else after. Fluffy wild rice with much less jus in this dish would have been good. Something you can grab a forkful of and still want to eat other items from the plate.

(price unknown) Chef's special pasta of the day. Pesto pasta with longaniza sausage.
The appearance of this dish is so simple and comforting it's deceptive of the taste and quality. The pesto, rather than being a processed collection of herbs, nuts, and oils, is a finely chopped version. Making pesto sauce at home is deterred by the thought of having to clean out a food processor and this dish changed my mind. Even with the chopped pieces, the pesto sauce was still extremely flavorful and fragrant. I am so inspired to make more pesto at home with just my knife and a cutting board. The longaniza sausages were rich and savory, a slight kick to them, and not dripping with fats. This dish may not fan out as nicely like the duck breast looks but read my words, the chef's special pasta of the day was out the park the clear winner of an already top notch meal.

The ambiance here is picturesque. The restaurant sits atop a hill but not too high where you're overwhelmed by windy cliffside roads to get here. Inside, there are huge windows overlooking trees and a Tahoe-esque landscape. We were lucky enough to be seated next to a window. While the service is attentive, it was at times slightly overbearing and then at other times, a bit neglectful. It took a long time to be served bread but we were asked about our drinks a few times. Overall, nothing to complain on Yelp about though. The food, well, all the above paragraphs have spoken for themselves. It's wonderful. The price is expensive but hey, I only have a birthday every year right? Splurge.


  1. OMG. That duck looks so mouthwatering good.

  2. Virgin strawberry daiquiri.... Oh man. That takes me back! I got those every day when I was little, on vacation in the Cayman Islands with my family at the swim-up bar. Such a great memory!



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