EAT This Week: Cold Water Brewery & Grill’s Ora King Salmon

This week’s featured EAT dish is Cold Water Brewery & Grill’s Ora King Salmon.
Robert Galloway/Tahoe Daily Tribune

To try and decide each week where and what to eat around the basin can be a challenge — there are so many amazing choices. In this feature we’ll dive into dishes that will surely satisfy those hunger pangs and leave you wondering where to go next.

I’m not quite certain, but this might very well be the first salmon dish that we’ve featured in this column. Not sure why, but if you’re a salmon lover and have been waiting for this day, let’s talk about your priorities … Starting with eating this week’s dish.

I’ll warn you up front, I’m going to talk a lot about this salmon. It’s not a dish. It’s an experience.

Ora salmon is New Zealand’s answer to Wagyu beef. Nine generations of breeding and kicking out fish to have the most appealing taste, texture, color, and size. I wouldn’t go as far as to say this salmon spent its life eating caviar (that’s just wrong if you think about it) while getting pedicures and massages, but it’s probably not far from it.

When you have a protein like this, you don’t need to do much to it. It gets a simple treatment and crusted on one side only (side note: Cold Water’s new chef learned to cook seafood from renowned chef Charlie Trotter). It’s placed atop a bed of bamboo rice and an almond, coconut, and lychee broth. It’s topped with a green papaya salad and garnished with chia seeds.

I know people use the term “melt in your mouth” quite often, but have you ever had anything completely eviscerate in your mouth? Maybe that’s not the best way to describe what each bite does, but hopefully it paints the picture.

From the crust of the fish, to the creaminess of the broth, to the crunch of the papaya, this dish doesn’t lack texture. The bamboo rice (very cool – Google it), adds a slightly herb-y flavor — along with great color.

Perhaps I’m overselling the dish, but perhaps I’m not. There’s only one way to find out. Well, I guess you could fly to New Zealand, which would be awesome, but all of us who aren’t quite that lucky, there’s Cold Water.

Cold Water Brewery and Grill is located at 2544 Lake Tahoe Blvd. in South Lake Tahoe. For menu and beer information visit them online at or via phone at 530-544-4677.


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