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Restaurants & Bars

South Lake Tahoe

earnslaw | Mar 12, 2008 10:04 PM

I'll get the ball rolling:
It seems that many places in South Lake Tahoe have good (but not great) food, and none seem to have better than good value. There are the casino buffets, which can be a good deal if they serve what you enjoy and if you are a hearty eater. Although the buffets are by no means adventurous, and somewhat touristy, I seem to be able to make those a very good value for me.

Lake Tahoe Pizza Company (on Hwy 50 near Lake Tahoe Blvd) offers good to very good pizza (especially the whole wheat versions), and has unusual topping combinations. However, their large is only 15", won't fully feed two hungry adults, and costs $20 for the specialty pizzas.

Off The Hook (on Lake Tahoe Blvd.) offers traditional Japanese cuisine, but also offers unusual sounding sushi rolls. I was eyeing the bento box, since I wanted some hot food along with sushi. The bento box comes with miso soup, tempura, salad, rice, choice of California roll or Greenhouse (veggie) roll, and teriyaki salmon---standard stuff. But I was also looking at the seaweed salad appetizer and the Funky Roll Medina made with bonito and salmon. Since I was eating solo, I figured two rolls would be too much. (Not to mention that if I ordered all three, it would top $25 for food only.) I was willing to pay a bit more for the meal in order to try some additional dishes, so I asked my server if I could substitute the seaweed salad for my Greenhouse roll in the bento box (especially since the seaweed salad was $1 less than an a la carte Greenhouse roll), and still order the Funky Roll Medina. She asked the chef who told her "absolutely no substitutions on bento boxes". I stayed with the bento box only, and figured I could order something else later if need be. When my food arrived, I was served five rather thin slices of the smallest diameter sushi roll I had ever seen. The Greenhouse roll was slightly larger in diameter than a quarter, but smaller than a half-dollar coin. The slices were served on a rectangular plate much like full-grown sushi rolls. The bento box was a traditional five-compartment box, but with one compartment inexplicably left empty. The salmon bore a striking resemblance to the frozen skinless salmon portions sold at my Costco. All for $13.50 or $3 or $4 dollars more than every other (better tasting) bento box I've experienced elsewhere in the state.

Heidi's (also on Lake Tahoe Blvd) is no different. A small chain, Heidi's serves traditional, hearty food that's good for filling the belly before working all day in the field. But approaching $10 for two eggs and normal (not huge) portions of ham, potatotes, and toast seems excessive for the type of food served.

I know Tahoe is off the beaten path, and things can be more expensive. I'm willing to pay a bit more if can experience something unusual or get a good value. But to receive neither makes me think those casino buffets aren't so bad after all.

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