Good, not fancy
We go out to eat a lot. Sometimes we get to go to fancy-schmancy joints with tasting menus, sommeliers, and multiple Michelin stars. Sometimes, we just want to eat.
I’ve been eyeing Tahoe Joe’s, across from Sunvalley Mall, for many years now, wondering about what appears to be a cookie-cutter chain steak place. This week I finally broke down and gave it a try.
We went out to dinner with the fabulous Margaret and Reed, the woman who designed our house. The don’t take reservations, per se, but if you call ahead you can get on a list. Which is like a reservation. All of which was really unnecessary because there were plenty of open tables on Sunday night at 6:30.
Tahoe Joe’s is a faux rustic steakhouse, catering to middle America. Lots of wood, no tablecloths, down-home friendly service. Portions are large, prices are very reasonable, the veggies are overcooked and the meat is great. Desserts are huge, rich and excellent.
The ladies began their meals with salads, which were pretty standard. I had the chicken pot pie soup, which was so rich and thick I could only eat half of it. Now I know that it is possible to use too much heavy cream in a soup.
Reed doesn’t eat meat, so she had the bourbon salmon.
The fish was excellent, highlighted by the bourbon glaze. For a guy who doesn’t drink, I sure love the taste of bourbon. The baked potato, filled with butter and sour cream, was another treat for the “healthy” eater.
I had the rib eye steak:
I think the rib eye is the tastiest cut. Not the most tender, often having some gristle and fat to contend with, but I’ve come to seriously enjoy it. I ordered it rare, and that’s what I got. Baked spud, of course. I got overcooked blue lake beans instead of overcooked broccoli. There isn’t much difference. There seems to be an inverse relationship between the price of the meal and how long they cook the veggies. I’m sure that says something about class differences in America–perhaps someone could write a doctoral thesis on it.
Gail had the prime rib. Gail pretty much always has the prime rib. It was first rate. She chose the mashed potatoes, and some mushy veggies. Come to Tahoe Joe’s, you’re going to get meat and potatoes. Or fish and potatoes. That’s the way western men eat. Or something.
There was a card on the table advertising the apple pie dessert, and marketing works. I had to order it. They bring a very hot frying pan with a sizzling slice of apple pie, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Then the waiter pours a butter-brandy sauce into the pan which produces a paroxysm of steam, cream and alcohol. Then everyone at the table grabs a spoon and dives in, fighting for the last tiny drop of the sauce, a bit of crust, a slice of apple and some chilling ice cream.
I think we all enjoyed our meal. Tahoe Joe’s isn’t a class joint, you don’t want to celebrate your 35th wedding anniversary there, it will never be mentioned in the Guide Michelin. It’s a good place to get a slab of beef or slice of salmon with a very traditional presentation. Not so good if you want lo-cal, lo-fat, cutting edge dining, but they never pretended to be anything but what they are–an old fashioned middle of the road steakhouse.