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Wyoming Trip Report

turbowine | Aug 31, 201710:32 PM

Part 2 of our great expedition to see the eclipse of 2017, going through Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.
Again, the stars are my score given out on “Trip Advisor”
(Click on my user name to find the other parts.)

Blue Lion, Jackson, WY -- 4 Stars
First thing we noticed was that it was crowded! Monday night in August. Glad we had a reservation. Sat down and were presented with a nice looking menu, with a lot of interesting options. We started with the soup of the day, cheddar broccoli. Yum! From there went to our mains (which included a salad). Salads were obviously pre-prepped, right out of the fridge, with the plates being quite cold, and the lettuce noticeably cold as well. Wife went with the Elk Tenderloin & Trout combo (surf & turf?) while I went with the Bison Tenderloin. Really liked the mushroom & bacon gravy that came with the elk, and the huckleberry sauce was also quite nice on the bison. Trout was nice too, a good combo. Mains came with the veggie of the day, which was carrots today. I would prefer mixed veggies rather than a single kind (what if you don’t like that kind?). We had a side of morels in cream sauce (a seasonal special), very tasty! Great to dip the bread into, that’s for sure! Skipped dessert because we were stuffed, but they looked good.
We had a couple of glasses of Malbec with the meal. Wine list is dominantly California and imports. I suggest they look to Washington and Oregon a bit, so close, seems they should be the wines of choice. I thought the meat portions (elk & bison), however good tasting they were, were a bit small for the money. Tourist haven prices, of course. I do wonder if the elk alone, without the trout, would have been a bigger portion of meat? Even so, the portion of bison was small for the $$$. However, the trout was huge. I mean HUGE! We ended up splitting the trout and that is what filled us up. Note we don’t eat a lot of carbs, so we skipped most of them, left them on the plate. With eating the carbs, we would have been even more stuffed. But still, for the price, seems to me more meat was in order, starches are cheap. Interestingly, the elk & trout came with two starches, both potatoes and rice pilaf. The rice was very good.
About service: Generally attentive, pleasant, friendly but, we did ask for “no” starches & extra veggies, but were served them anyway. Also, when it came time to pay, our server disappeared and we never saw her again. Shift change? Eventually a bus boy took our credit card. The also ran out of large bottles of sparkling water. Perhaps still waiting for the delivery after a busy weekend?
The ambiance is pleasant but very noisy. We sat in the main house, there is also an area under an awning (with walls). I’m not sure that would have been as nice. Parking sucks. Street parking only and not enough of it. Be prepared to drive around for a few minutes looking for a spot and to have to walk a couple blocks. Overall, a good choice!

Snake River Grill, Jackson, WY – 5 Stars
Upscale (white table cloth) ambiance and nice décor that sets the tone the moment you walk in. Staff very helpful, attentive and friendly. Ordered the snap pea & radish small plate, Little Gem & Cherry salad first course, the Elk Filet in mole sauce and a daily special, the BLT Scallops. All were wonderful. For dessert went with the special, peach pie and the homemade donuts. Again, very good. Got a free “taster” of the Eskimo bar. Also very good. Too much food. Wine was a glass of Albarino and a ½ bottle of Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot. Love to see the half bottles on the list. Too many wines from CA, not enough from WA (but they had a few!). Waiter was the best. Talked to us about lunch resto recommendations, where and when to see wildlife, gave us some recommendations for roads to drive. All-in-all a fantastic experience. Best restaurant in Jackson! (Same parking issues as everywhere in town – not enough.)

Dornan’s Pizza, Moose, WY – 3 stars
Counter order, and they dropped part of the order. I had to stand in line again and re-order, but they did rush the preparation for us. Also didn’t tell us we had to go pick up the drinks at the bar, they sat there for 10 min while we wondered why they weren’t being delivered. Wife didn’t like her spinach salad. I thought the daily specials (chicken green chili soup and the pork tacos) were just fine. Nice outdoor seating with great view. Claim to fame is supposed to be the pizza but we weren’t in the mood so can’t comment.

Café Genevieve, Jackson, WY – 3 stars
Stopped in for a simple lunch. Each ordered a salad, mine the Candied Pig ( candied bacon and blue cheese); my wife the beet salad. Each was fine, however, the beet salad was maybe 1/3 the size of my salad. Seems really inconsistently sized for the same price. Staff was friendly and attentive. Nice ambience. Like that you could buy breakfast items as well as lunch items, if you wanted.
(Same parking issues as everywhere in town – not enough.)

The Kitchen, Jackson, WY – 3 stars
Seems to be an American/Japanese fusion restaurant, based on my read of the menu. If it was on the food flavors alone, I’d give them 4 stars, but there were enough misses to drop it to 3. Service was slow. Friendly, but slow. Requested items were forgotten (more water, sugar with coffee, etc). Bathrooms were messy, needed more attention. Makes one wonder if they were down a person this night.
Portions were all over the map. My trout was 1/3 the size of my wife’s tenderloin. In fact, my trout was tiny! I was served one filet, and considering the size, I should have been served the whole fish. I’m lucky she gave me half of her steak or I’d have been starving still. (And we did both order starters!) From what we saw looking around the patio at what other’s ordered, serving sizes seemed very inconsistent. Also, she ordered medium rare, it came rare. She ate the ‘outsides’ and my half was the ‘insides.’
They have a very pleasant outdoor patio, which we sat on. When we arrived the indoor seating was empty and looked very cold. Outdoor ambiance was much better.
We ordered the miso soup (nice big portion), the seared tenderloin roll (around nori and covered in miso butter) very rich, quite tasty. She had the tenderloin in cherry sauce, again tasty. I had the trout in ponzu butter. Wonderful flavors.
Wine list was decently sized for the establishment, nice variety.
(Same parking issues as everywhere in town – not enough.)

Branding Iron Café, Bondurant, WY -- 4 stars
Small town, only restaurant, I think. 100 is the population, 30 or so miles from Jackson (east).
Lovely little spot, husband and wife team, cute building. Lunch, my wife orders the Wedge salad, thought it was awesome. I had the bison burger with onion rings. Burger was nice, onion rings were Amazing! Nice menu of options. In hindsight, since the chef was right there, I wish I’d asked the chef for his recommendation and not jumped straight to the burger. Oh well, maybe I’ll learn and be smarter someday. Good place to stop when you are passing through. Good list of homemade desserts, but we decided to pass, trying to be good.

Lakeside Lodge, Pinedale, WY -- 3 stars
Nice spot on the lake, with great views of the mountains to the west. Very friendly, attentive staff. Special menu night, so probably not a fair review of the food. Tonight was “Thai” night, which had mostly Thai food on the menu. (A few items for those that can’t stomach ‘real’ Thai, such as a Thai Burger, Thai wings, and a beef roll.) We ordered the Larb Gai, Yellow Curry, Pad See Ewe, Pad Thai, Thai Beef salad and Coconut shrimp. The shrimp were great, but I don’t know that they were any different than you’d get at Outback Steakhouse. Thai Beef salad also had a lot of great flavor for the beef; a wonderful marinade. The Larb Gai was probably the most authentic dish, with a nice spicy kick as well. The Phad Thai, Phad See Ewe and Yellow Curry weren’t authentic at all. Not to say they were bad, just not authentic. But then again, you’re in the middle of Wyoming, at a lake resort where the cook is probably grilling a steak house style menu. What do you expect? Food took a very long time to come out after ordering. Corkage was $10, which is always nice!

Burger Barn, Pinedale,WY -- 3 stars
Basically a food truck with some nice covered picnic tables. Hotdog was more of a Polish sausage in flavor profile. Nice meat chili (Texas style) on the Chili dog. Good onion rings. Tasty burgers. Triple stack (their famous burger ) is big. I asked about patty size, was told ¼ lb. Reality is at least 1/3 lb. The triple stack was a lot of food. I would’ve limited myself to the double if I’d been given accurate info. But a nice place to stop for lunch. Menu has lots of options. Good way to wrap up a hike around the nearby lakes and mountains.

Old Stones BBQ & Pizza Pinedale, WY -- 3 stars
Nice log cabin construction with old west ambiance. Inspirational sayings hung on the walls. They were very happy (and surprised) we called ahead and made a reservation, say they don’t get that consideration very much (party of six). We were given a private room (that maybe could have held 8, tops), which was great. Staff was very friendly, helpful and attentive. Beer list didn’t have local beers. That’s a bummer. Wine list was only ‘house’ wine, also a bummer; but hey, given the type of place it was, who cares. Lots of variety on the menu. Fettuccini was enjoyed by one of us. One just ordered a salad (Asian inspired) that she really liked. Thought it was an entrée salad, but same size as side salad even though twice the price. We got a wedge salad, but with ranch instead of blue cheese dressing. Cole slaw was a good side as well. Pork Ribs were tasty. Pizza was too, though not the best crust. Pulled Pork and brisket were not very good. Dry, not enough smoke flavor (if any!). If you want BBQ, get the ribs.

Wind River Brewing Co, Pinedale, WY -- 3 stars
Ordered Flatiron steak and Gorganzola salad, Rib eye steak (not the sandwich), Fish tacos, BBQ Brisket sandwich and the BLT. Started with sweet potato fries. The fries weren’t the best I’ve ever had, for some reason didn’t have a lot of flavor. Everything was enjoyed, without complaint, though interestingly enough my friend who ordered the tacos said that one couldn’t tell if it was chicken, fish or whatever. But that wasn’t a complaint! They tasted good! The BBQ sandwich was more about the sauce than it was about the meat. As a fan of the great briskets you find in Texas BBQ, I have to say the meat didn’t compare, but overall it was still a good sandwich. Nice flavor to the sauce. (Menu said it was a Food TV Top 50 pick, whatever that means.) The beers were tasty, the staff friendly and attentive and the facility was pleasant. Lots of TV’s if that matters to you (in the bar). Beer drinking games on the patio. They did ‘forget’ about our reservation, but they had enough empty tables that it didn’t matter. (In fact, that being the case, they really never should have told us that, we’d have never known. I guess the hostess wasn’t thinking fast on her feet.) We tried several of their beers and all were tasty.

Himalayan Nepal Indian Cuisine, Casper WY - 4 stars
12 of us, ordered more things than I can remember. All were very good. Service was fast, efficient, friendly. Food came out faster than expected considering how busy they were. Nice big facility, handled several big groups at once (and well). Anticipated our need for takeout boxes for leftovers. Lamb wasn’t lamb-y. Recommend! In the basement of the building, but not too hard to find. Corkage was $10, always a good thing.

Firerock Steakhouse, Casper, WY 4 stars
We had a group of 20, on 8/21/17, the day of the Great America Eclipse. The day the population of WY doubled with tourists and every restaurant in town was full to capacity. With this many people they did a great job of taking care of us. Only real issue is that with 20 people, getting orders in and out together is tough (food got cold fast after it was served). They let us order off the menu too – no limited menu as many places will do with a group that size. Won’t try and comment on individual menu items, there were so many, but in general people were very happy with the food and service. We had a semi-private room too, very nice. Fantastic staff. No qualms about separate checks, another thing many won’t do for a group like this! Our server was fantastic! Wine list was predominately California. I’d like to see more Washington, personally. Overall, a much better experience than I was expecting, for a restaurant that gives a “chain steakhouse” impression. Corkage was $15, certainly not bad.

The Blue Lion,
Snake River Grill,
Dornan's Pizza Pasta Company,
Cafe Genevieve,
The Kitchen,
Branding Iron Cafe,
Lakeside Lodge,
Old Stones | Smokehouse & Country Pizza,
Wind River | Brewing Company,
Himalayan Indian Cuisine,
FireRock Steakhouse
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