Tahoe’s best-kept secret has the best view
June 26, 2007
Sometimes the visitors have an advantage over Tahoe residents in finding the special spots.
Such is the case with the Lakeside Beach Grill, located right on the water on the California side of the casino corridor.
The ambiance is European, complete with flamenco guitarists Martin and Vargas. Where the mountains meet the water, the view of the lake is ideally aligned with the signature snow cross of Mount Tallac. And with three executive chefs in a delicious competition, the cuisine is top shelf.
“Locals don’t know about it,” chef Gordon Lakin said. “We are one of the best-kept secrets in town.”
Considering the summertime eatery is celebrating 10 years of service, spreading the word is long overdue.
Owner Zan Barker, who spent much of his youth in Berlin, said the European ambiance is by design.
Recommended Stories For You
“It’s inspired by the restaurants on the lakes in Switzerland and Italy,” Barker said, occasionally sipping a glass of vintage red wine while the sun set over the lake. “Outdoor cafes that exemplify fine foods and fine service.”
A volleyball game continued while diners lingered with desserts and drinks, soaking in sounds of the Spanish-style guitars.
“We get people from Europe who really know where we’re coming from,” Julian Martin said, taking a break between musical sets. “It’s not a typical restaurant atmosphere. We feed off the crowd and sometimes we will get louder and more aggressive.”
Barker said many of the diners are annual visitors to Tahoe. Because it’s in a tourist area, most Tahoe residents don’t know about the restaurant.
The food, such as light-battered and quickly sautéed appetizers, is as delicious as it is healthy. A highlight is the seared peppered ahi, a tuna rolled in cracked peppercorns, slightly seared and served with a homemade mango salsa. Another tasty way to start the meal is the calamari rings and pieces sautéed and served in a creamy beurre blanc sauce with capers and focaccia toast points.
For an entree there is the Pacific fish reuben, a grilled halibut served on toasted sourdough with melted Swiss cheese and our honey apple sauerkraut and special sauce. “We have three chefs and they set themselves on fire with the competition and inspiration,” Barker said.
With a pinch of modesty, Gordon agreed.
“Zan deserves the credit for most of the ideas,” he said. “I try to make the ideas work well. Hopefully that competition just elevates things. If somebody’s pushing up the level, you’re probably going to kick yours up too.”
Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Brunch, which includes eggs Benedict, eggs Pacific, daily quiche, strawberry waffle and huevos rancheros, is offered Friday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dinner is served every night except Monday and Tuesday. Catering is offered too.
Directions: From Highway 50 turn toward the lake on Park Avenue. Stop just before you hit the water. The restaurant is at 4081 Lakeshore Blvd. Phone: (530) 544-4050.