Posted by johngl
Tucked away in what is actually the walkout basement of the Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa in Teton Village, Wyoming you’ll find Cascade, an inviting and cozy establishment where Executive Chef Kevin Humphreys spins up some magnificently flavorful wild game treats.
Cascade also serves beer.
On a junket over to Cody, I’d discovered offerings from the Snake River Brewing Company located in the Jackson Hole area, specifically in the town of Jackson. Their Vienna style lager is their most popular beer and with good reason: the malt forwardness provides sweetness for the hops-averse yet it’s well balanced enough to go nicely with food. I decided it would be a great way to open the night.
Chef Humphrey’s Smoked Pheasant Ravioli with Sage-Prosciutto Sauce is surprisingly light yet packs a mouthful of flavor. The pasta is made in-house and surrounds a wonderfully tasty and cheesy blend of ricotta and shredded smoked pheasant. The creamy sauce is loaded with prosciutto chunks and crispy-fried sage leaves and a paper-thin chip of crisp prosciutto top this off nicely.
This Snake River Farms Kurobuta Pork Belly is served with a sweet potato puree spiked with Minus-8 wine vinegar and topped with pickled watermelon. It has that whole crunchy-meaty-fatty-sweety-tangy thing going on. The pork flesh is rich and flavorful and the fat surrounding it has been rendered to a pleasing crunch, like a well-prepared duck skin.
I love roasted beets and after several failed attempts to secure some really good ones via the primary food vendors at our National Parks, I was ready to give it another shot. This Roasted Beet Salad did the trick. Perfectly roasted and sliced beets were topped with a huge pile of mache, a wonderfully sweet green also known as corn row lettuce, and Amaltheia goat cheese. The tangy flavor of the goat cheese was a perfect foil for the sweetness of the beets and greens. Of coarse the toasted pecan vinaigrette helped with that a bit, too.
I was totally taken by the mildness of the mache and I don’t recall having it ever before. You can bet I will look to be planting it as a winter salad green here in Austin: its cold-hardiness should make it perfectly suited for our wonderfully mild winters.
These are Cascade’s Zonker Stout Braised Bison Short Ribs. Zonker is a traditional stout offering from folks at Snake River Brewing. Served with cheddar infused organic grits and topped with an onion marmalade this dish would satisfy the most hearty of appetites. Despite the fact that bison is very lean, there is a meaty richness to it that can’t be conveyed in words. You’ll just have to try it yourself.
Speaking of meaty richness, this slice of Wagyu Sirloin with Warm Potato Salad and Homemade Worcestershire Sauce was juicy, meaty perfection.
Normally, I don’t eat a lot of sirloin unless it is a attached to a porterhouse. However, this perfectly cooked hunk from what the restaurant dubbed “Snake River Farms American Kobe Beef,” was well worth the $10 upcharge on the fixed price menu (normally $37 for three courses). I actually told the most glorious spousal unit that it was the best beef steak I’ve had in recent memory (well, okay, that I hadn’t cooked). This is what beef should taste like.
By the way, our server, Pete, had recommended Snake River Brewery’s OB-1 (Organic Brew – 1) and I thought it would go nicely with the steak. His advice was sound and it wound up being one of my favorite beers of the trip ranking right up there with Moose Drool out of Missoula, MT. In fact, Pete suggested that we take a side trip over to the Snake River Brewing Company and get some at the source. We again followed his advice. You may see our visit there in a future post.
Then there was the night of the Prime Rib of Bison.
The first time I ever had bison was when I was about 23 years old. I’d been living in Kentucky for a while and a local farmer was putting on a bison feed. There was this enormous Flintstone-ish rack of Prime Rib sitting on the carving bench and people were standing around pointing and babbling about this wondrous sight. It tasted as grand as it looked and I’ve been hunting down someone who could cook bison as well as that farmer.
Enter Chef Kevin Humphreys.
This baby was fork tender and served with some crispy-fried onion straws, spinach, and a potato hash laced with horseradish. I can only say I wish I would have thought of that horsy-sauce potato thing. The onions’ sweetness offset the slight bitterness of the spinach and the starchy potatoes — with the horseradish bite — combined perfectly with the bison.
Heaven. Pure heaven.
Oh, and Cascade also serves a great hearty breakfast!
Whether you are in Jackson Hole for its winter skiing & snowboarding or just wandering around in early fall watching the leaves adding their artists’ palette of color to the scenery, catch a few days stay at the Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa and make absolutely sure you head downstairs for a glorious meal (or three) at Cascade!