Friday, February 29, 2008

Alpenrose Sierra Grill - Mammoth Lakes

Alpenrose Sierra Grill
343 Old Mammoth Rd
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
(760) 934-3077
Type: "Pacific Rim - French Fusion" restaurant

Took a trip to Mammoth Lakes in late January for some world-class snowboarding. Unfortunately, we didn't get to experience much of that world-classiness cuz the weather was so horrible. There were whiteout conditions and 50 or so mph winds. It was so bad the snow was blowing not only sideways, but going upwards! They received about 3 feet of snow in that short weekend which is good if you went riding right after the storm, but we were figuratively and literally knee-deep in it. So was there anything good that came out of that trip you ask? Sure. I got to spend quality time with my girlfriend and some of her family, we had fun playing in the snow in back of the condo, and we got lucky and stumbled upon a great restaurant in the middle of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

The place was Alpenrose located off the main street in Mammoth on Old Mammoth Road. There's a good amount of restaurants and bars surrounding it, and there's a pretty big plaza with a Vons just down the street. From one website we saw while we were looking for a place to eat, they said Alpenrose is a Swiss restaurant. I had no idea what kind of food that was. The menu though, reflected a lot of European/Asian fusion dishes. These dishes were also not on the cheaper side. If you spent all your money on the pricey cabin and the almost-as-pricey lift tickets, this might not be the best place for you. Expect to be shelling out about $20 - $40 per person here. Also, at the bottom of the menu, they mentioned something about turning off your cell phones. In other words, yuppies only. Just kidding.

So we got there on a Saturday night. The weather still wasn't great, and we had to put chains on the tires. The parking lot didn't seem that big to me, but I think there was another side besides the one adjacent to the main entrance. We got in and had to wait probably 5 minutes to get seated. Good thing too, cuz we were all starving. The place looked kind of like a cabin inside, but with not so much logs. It was kind of country-ish. I'm not the best at describing or even remembering the decor of any place. All I worry about is the food and if it tastes good, and how much it costs.

So after some browsing through their relatively small menu (only 2 pages worth of food), we decide what we're getting. So we started off with the 5 Mushroom Soup. That was good. They had lots of little mushroom pieces in it. I think one bowl is good enough for two people.

5 mushroom soup

My girl's sister ordered some soft shell crab cakes ($15). Did it only come with two? I think so. But it was really good. Not something I would order often cuz of quantity and price.

The main dishes took a while to arrive, but probably because it was busy. My girl ordered the Portabella Mushroom Pasta ($14). It had a goat cheese cream sauce with white truffle oil using farfalle pasta (obviously, I had to copy these descriptions). It was good too. Luckily there were some leftovers for the next day.

Portabella Mushroom Pasta

I ordered the salmon dish ($30). This one was sake glazed with wasabi mashed potatoes with assorted steamed veggies. Holy crap. This one was bomb. Everything about it was just quality eating. I don't like wasabi, but the mashed taters were mmm-mmm good. The salmon was cooked just right, and the sweet sauce it was served with was the perfect combination. My only complaint is that I wanted more sauce.

sake-glazed salmon. wow.

My girl's brother in-law ordered the ribeye meal which I think cost about $30. He said it was okay, but overpriced.

To make the meal even yuppier than it was already, we ordered a bottle of wine called Los Vascos or something. There's just two types of red wine for me: tastes okay, and tastes not so great. This one tasted okay. I haven't been accustomed to actually liking the taste of wine yet.

winin' and dinin'

Oh, but wait. The yuppie rituals aren't finished until you have your chocolate fondue with fruits. By this time, I was already full. Plus, the chocolate was dark chocolate, so I wasn't exactly excited about it. But I had to try it anyways. After dipping a strawberry in, I realized it wasn't that bad. I ended up eating quite a few fruits, with bananas being the best ones. I still prefer milk chocolate, but this was cool.

fond of fondue

In the end, we got the best surprise of all. My girl's sister and her husband paid for the whole bill! I felt bad getting the salmon cuz it was one of the most expensive dishes, but I didn't know. I thought I was paying for our meals. Thanks again Tina and Tamer!

I would definitely go back to Alpenrose when I take another trip up to Mammoth. Although, I wanna try the sushi restaurant first. Even if I had to pay for our meal, I would still go back. The food was really tasty. I'm sure there's better places; possibly for even less. But this is a mountain community a few thousand feet above sea level. This is as close to Heaven as you can get. Ok, maybe not really, but it was a witty thing to say.


Mimi said...

the portobello mushroom pasta was GREAT! you did it no justice. just letting the people know. very tasty tasty. although i was fiending for some pasta that day.

Anonymous said...

I worked at the Alpenrose when it first opened (it used to be called the Swiss Chalet) in 1994. It has changed ownership a few times since I think.

While it sounds like you enjoyed your meal, I wonder how it would have compared to the original menu, which was authentic Swiss/Austrian cuisine - right down to the homemade spatzle. The chef was this crazy Swiss guy Ollie, who somehow ran the whole kitchen himself (acting as Exec and Sous Chef with just one hispanic guy helping with prep and some plating). The Schnitzal and Stroganoff were unreal - no bought in junk; all home-made. Being a cheese lover, the fondue and raclette were personal faves. The best though were the home-made pastries that the owners father Max baked. Tarts and strudels that melted in your mouth!

Mammoth has had some great (and not so great) restaurants over the years.

Stoked your dining experience was pleasant. Next time you should try Petras - similar yet more contemporary ambiance, with a just-shy-of-eclectic menu that will blow your mind. Best wine selection in Mammoth too!

Jim said...

Petras huh? I thought Alpenrose was the only fine dining spot up there. I'll check it out next time I'm up. Thanks for the rec.

Anonymous said...

Restaurant Skadi or Lakefront. Hands-down the best restaurants in ML.