EAT This Week: Steamers Bar & Grill’s Taco Platter

Steamer's Bar & Grill Taco Platter.
Rob 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.

If there was one thing that the old Steamers restaurant was known for, it had to be their tacos. More to the point: that crusty Parmesan cheese exterior on the shells. And, if there was one thing new owners Heather and Paul wanted to keep about those tacos, it was that same coat of crispy cheese. However, their updated versions take these tacos to a whole other level.

While you can order each of these tacos individually, it’s more fun to spread the wealth and try out as many as your belly will allow (they are quite the handful). With exception to the Al Pastor and Birria, all tacos are topped with their house made slaw (lettuce, cabbage, carrot, cilantro), fresh tomato and a dusting of cheese.

Ground Beef: Using an 80/20 blend of chuck, shoulder, and short rib, these might sound pretty traditional, but I assure you they are not. They are cooked in a mirepoix (celery, onion, carrot) with additions of red bell peppers and poblanos and a healthy dose of their scratch-made taco seasoning. Poundable scale: 10 out of 10.

Birria: The most intricate process of all the tacos sees the meat get a layered dose of cooking with an initial poach and then a braise with items like peppers and onions before getting shredded and a final boil to soak in even more of the deep braising flavor (a 10 hour process). The braising liquid gets an addition of beef paste and adobo for the dipping consommé, which rockets the flavor into orbit.

Al Pastor: One of my favorites sees the pork get prepped in an adobo mixture that contains dry spices (including achiote) as well as its fair share of citrus (orange, grapefruit, and lemon) to help break down the protein. The kicker here comes in the topping. You get great textures and flavors from the onion and cilantro, but also making a star appearing is fresh pineapple to help brighten up those deep and rich flavors of the pork.

Shrimp: The shrimp gets an initial poaching before its spice bath (regular of blackened) and hitting the heat. It’s topped with a chipotle aioli, which brings in just the right amount of kick. The shrimp are plump and explode with flavor. These are a limited special item, so get them when you can.

Chicken: Using thigh meat, this method of prep sees the chicken go through a searing process then roasted in a sauce similar to a Chicken Tinga, but only better. Using fresh ingredients like red jalapenos, chipotles, oregano, as well as a mixture of dried herbs, you get ultra moist meat that brings in just the right amount of heat. Throw in some of their scratch red and green salsa and this is the party your mouth has been waiting for.

Mahi Mahi: The freshness here is on overload and all of the components working together really showcase the slight sweetness of the mahi mahi. The fish has the option similar to the shrimp where you can get it blackened or their regular house seasoning. Either way, you’re in great hands.

Steamers Bar & Grill is located at 2236 Lake Tahoe Blvd in South Lake Tahoe. For menu items, hours, and additional information visit them online at or reach them by phone at 530-541-8818.

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