Mac and cheese goes gourmet |

Mac and cheese goes gourmet

There’s a reason why many people associate Embassy Suites with good taste.

How many gourmet chefs do you know who make an experience out of a macaroni and cheese dish?

But that’s the style and grace of the Echo Restaurant’s new Executive Chef Roy Choi in the Embassy Suites hotel at Stateline. The culinary whiz shared the fortunes of his craft in Manhattan restaurants and the DeAnza Country Club in Borrego Springs before arriving on the Tahoe scene.

The hotel celebrated the grand opening of the restaurant in August. It serves up a kid’s menu as well as dishes that could turn even the most discriminating food snob into a believer.

The grilled mushroom quesadilla comes with a slow-roasted tomato jam that resembles a thick tropical salsa with brown sugar. Shrimp cocktail with the wasabi cocktail sauce has a nip to it, while Echo’s signature French onion soup encased in a whole onion tastes as though it could warm and soothe the savage soul.

The red meats are so tender, they can be sliced like butter.

Prices on the dinner menu ranges from a $5 dinner salad to Roy’s Surf and Turf for $32.

Diners are advised to save a bit of their appetites, as a “chocolate ganache bombe” tops the dessert menu with berries, brownies and chocolate ice cream. Cream brulee and warm pecan pie are included on the menu.

Diners may also ask Choi about the chef’s tasting menu that gives them a sampling of different culinary delights.

But Choi’s creations fusing American cuisine with world flavors and classical cooking techniques are only an adventure in the taste buds.

Like many aspects of Embassy Suites, presentation takes a front seat at the Echo Restaurant.

From the minute a guest enters the doorway, there’s an extraordinary open-air feeling that gives diners room to breathe and invites people to walk around and peruse the historical photographs hanging on the walls.

Embassy Suites spared no expense in reshaping its former Zachary’s restaurant, with muted hues of yellow, recessed overhead lights and wall lamps that look like a modern-day “Jetsons.”

When he’s not cooking or directing kitchen staff, Choi — awarded the 2001 Best Chef of San Diego — makes a habit of roaming the dining room to ensure the food meets the guests’ expectations.

“We fly in everything. Seafood and shellfish to beef and vegetables from the finest food distributors in the country, saving us at least three days of freshness,” Choi said. “We also visit many of the local farmers’ markets to select fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs.”

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