Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Wild Alaskan Restaurant and Bar

I recently spent a few days up in Tahoe, enjoying the beautiful scenery and skiing for the first time in about 10 years.  It was a lovely trip, albeit not for the food! I've never thought of Tahoe as a culinary destination, and my experiences this past trip continued to solidify that view.

Since my visit to the east coast last summer, I've been craving fish and chips.  I had some spectacular ones there!  I haven't found anywhere near San Francisco with fish and chips that I've really liked, so I was excited when I discovered Wild Alaska, a seafood restaurant in Incline Village that featured fish and chips, with haddock even!  I figured it was worth a try.

The restaurant was on Open Table, so I made a reservation in advance.  It turned out to not be remotely necessary, as the place was nearly empty when we arrived at 6:30pm on a Friday.  It was a very cute, cozy restaurant, with a big wooden bar, a fireplace, and wooden tables.  A rustic feeling bar and pub.

The server was very friendly, but the food just really wasn't great.  I won't be going back.
Hot Apple Cider.  $4(?).
Even though I grew up in NH, San Francisco has ruined me, and I was freezing.  I opted to start with a warm apple cider.  The price was $4 (I think, maybe $3.50?) so I thought it was going to be something besides a packet of powder stirred into hot water.  I thought wrong.  It was warm, and did the trick, but it was really watery and just crazy sweet and not very good.  The price was way too high for what it was.
Beer Battered Fish 'N' Chips, Sweet Potato Fries, Wasabi Coleslaw, Tartar Sauce.  $16.99.
Next we moved on to the Fish 'N' Chips.  We had the choice of Coho salmon or haddock.  Even though the place is "Wild Alaska", I opted for the traditional haddock rather than their salmon, as it was what I was craving.  It was battered with an Alaskan IPA beer.

The portion pictured is actually a half portion, as we weren't starving, and opted to split a meal.  I'm very glad we did, as this was totally large enough for a meal, and I can't imagine the full size portion!  The half portion was 2 large pieces of fish, a giant pile of fries, an even bigger pile of coleslaw, and a vat of tartar sauce!

The fish didn't taste particularly fresh, the batter was very heavy although flavorful, but just far too oily.   I absolutely hated the tartar sauce.  I love tartar sauce, so this made me very, very sad.  I'm not sure what it was, there was just something in the taste that I couldn't stand.

The dish normally comes with wedge fries, but we upgraded to sweet potato fries for an additional $2.  They were ok, a bit soggy, and without much real sweet potato flavor.  Not horrible, but not very good either.  I normally love dipping my fries in the tartar sauce, but since I hated the tartar sauce, I had to look for alternatives.  Luckily there was honey on the table, so I created my own honey dip that went nicely with sweet potato.

Finally there was the wasabi coleslaw, that all of the reviews I read previously raved about.  It was ... unremarkable.  Creamy enough, not too mushy, and it had some slight kick from the wasabi, but overall just wasn't really special.

Overall, this was all just very mediocre.  It was a large amount of food for the price, although they added an additional $1.50 fee for sharing an entree (which seems to be pretty standard practice in the area, with fees ranging from $1-$3 typically).  I don't mind the charge at all, as it does make sense since the kitchen is doing extra work to split it, and sometimes they include more of the side when they split, etc, but the fee was NOT listed on the menu, and when we ordered the dish, it was also not mentioned.
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