Katherine Hill, publisher of Tahoe Weekly, and I were greeted by DJ Ewan, director of business development at Granlibakken. It was early and we were the first table to be seated. I took in my surroundings and was immediately enamored. Ewan introduced us to Gene Roberts, the executive chef, who has been with the restaurant since 1986.
Warm sourdough bread and butter were set out on the table as we began our culinary adventure.
Our server, Carlos Ayala, welcomed us and suggested a few cocktails with which to begin the evening. Katherine ordered a hot toddy while I chose the Tahoe Old-Fashioned. Carlos recommended a few appetizers. He brought us the Cedar House Pub’s Herbaceous Creamy Burrata, served with warm olive oil and garlic naan; Roasted Brussel Sprouts drizzled with olive oil, a balsamic reduction, topped with parmesan cheese and pancetta; and Garlic Truffle French Fries.
“This is Tahoe’s best-kept secret.” –Michael Grant
Granlibakken Tahoe owner Ron Parson joined us and offered a bit of history about his family’s establishment. The building we were seated in was built by University of California, Berkeley in 1957, but the resort’s roots go back to 1922 when Granlibakken was a ski and sled hill called Ski Canyon.
Parson went over the menu with items that are an homage to Granlibakken’s Norwegian roots, while other items are an ode to European ski culture. One of their best-selling menu items is Chicken Schnitzel, which is hand-breaded and served with lemon caper butter, potato pancakes, apple compote and steamed vegetables. I eyed the Hungarian Beef Goulash, served in a rich paprika-seasoned sauce with spaetzle, sour cream and seasonal fresh veggies. The specials were equally tempting. Parsons pointed out that almost all menu items are made from scratch. They also have a lovely wine list and cocktails.
There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan items, as well. The menu also offers a build-your-own salad with something for everyone. Katherine enjoyed the Eggplant Stack, a lightly breaded eggplant layered with polenta, fresh tomatoes and hummus, topped with house-made Pomodoro sauce and shredded mozzarella, served with rice and seasonal fresh veggies. It was amazing. Carlos suggested I try the Chicken Schnitzel and Picanha Steak, a Brazilian cut of steak topped with chimichurri and fried onions, served with mashed potatoes and fresh, steamed vegetables. Both were delicious.
The restaurant filled with guests and skiers. Michael Grant, a jeweler in Tahoe City, and his girlfriend Tonya Nufets sat nearby.
“This is Tahoe’s best-kept secret,” he said, adding he is a regular customer.
Parson’s daughter Sarah Parson is the pastry chef. Her Vegan Chocolate Tart with Hazelnut Crust and praline cream puff topped off the dinner and was a fabulous way to complete our Cedar House Pub experience.
I loved the food and the positive energy at the Cedar House Pub. It truly is Tahoe City’s best-kept secret. The portions are plentiful. The food was delicious and the staff was kind, knowledgeable and delightful. It is the perfect place for locals and visitors alike. The restaurant is also kid-friendly and has an excellent menu for young folks. I can’t wait to go back.
The restaurant is open seven days a week, from 5 to 9 p.m. | granlibakken.com