Restaurant Review - June 1, 2010 - Joanne

Manzanita Lake Tahoe
at the Ritz Carlton Highlands
Northstar, CA

Visited - January 2010 - Dinner

Bumbling Wine Service and a lackluster dinner made our first visit to Traci des Jardin's new Manzanita Lake Tahoe certainly disappointing. With so few fine dining options in the area we had high hopes. Maybe after a few more months they will have the service and food straightened out. It's obvious that a significant investment was made in the decor and at this point, it's the best part of the experience. We'll be back to try again, but we suggest that you don't rush to make a reservation.

What we had:
Woodstone Oven Fired Bread
- trio of savory spreads

the flatbread was good with a nice crispyness. It's from the bar menu (the price we were charged was almost double what the bar menu showed on the website ($11 was on our bill) The three dips were a yogurt cucumber lime, a remoulade and a sweeter fig spread. The fig was the best of the lot, none were great. The remoulade reminded me of a creamy cocktail sauce with extra horseradish added. The yogurt sauce would have been much more pleasing if it were thicker.

Ahi Tuna Crudo
A hunk of tuna with a nice oil and vinegar with cucumber and bits of not that not crunchy seabeans, but hard to tell freshness as they were in the dressing. There's a reason sashimi is sliced in a certain way, as it enhances the flavor. I'm not a sashimi master. Good, but not outstanding. Would order something else next time.

Maine Diver Scallops, Potatoe Mousseline, Black Truffle Nage
Excellent. Perfectly cooked with a delightful puree. Definitely order again - but beware it had a high sodium content the night we visited.

Five Dot Ranch Ribeye
Cut from a roast so it tasted more like prime rib. Good but drier style with little fat and not a ton of flavor. Twice baked potato horrible - so much salt it was unedible. Nice little vegetable medley with cippolini onions.
Pork Chop, Bacon braised brussels sprouts, crushed potatoes whole grain mustard jus.
Boring. Tender but boring. The best part by far were the tiny smashed potatoes, bacon and brussels sprouts. Just order that part and hold the pork.

Sliders & Fries - came with cheese even though that wasn't mentioned on the menu. The thin fries were crispy but just ok.

Cheese selections were Castelmagno, Cordona, Humbolt Fog and a blue cheese (can't recall which one). 4 selections were $28.

Manzanita Lake Tahoe
at the Ritz Carlton Highlands
Northstar, CA

Visited February 2010 - Dinner

Our second visit to Manzanita Lake Tahoe was a vast improvement on our first.

We'll be back next time we go to Tahoe.

Guinea Hen with Egg Noodles
Divine. I wish I had ordered it instead of the Gnocchi. This was a Nightly Special - should be added to the regular menu.

The sauce was good and resplendent with mushrooms but the gnocchi did not make my grade, they were tough and pasty.

Prime Rib
Great. Even the twice backed potato was good. I could see there might be some variation as the meat is the star, but on this visit this was an excellent choice which had Jack longing for a sample and a 2nd bite.

Maine Diver Scallops, Potatoe Mousseline, Black Truffle Nage

Good. But not as great as our first visit. Sodium toned down though. Might try something else next time.

Sliders & Fries – Burgers were ok (we were careful to order them without cheese (but the menu still does not state cheese). The thin fries were crispy but just weren’t worth eating..


The tart I had was great – the pastry chef did a wonderful job with it.

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