INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — At Fredrick’s, chef and owner Greg Erb aims to create something unique. Atmosphere and service are important, he said, but you have to start around the food.
“I’m not stuck in a box,” Greg said. “You have to take chances, be pretty creative.”
Fredrick’s Fusion Bistro is a combination of mostly Mexican and Asian cuisine.
Greg puts his own spin on classic dishes such as short rib or duck that keep the locals and tourists coming back to the quaint restaurant.
Fredrick’s is known for its sushi as well. Creative rolls such as the Tree Hugger, the Striped Dragon and the Money Booter can be enjoyed at the bar or at a table.
INSPIRATION THROUGH TRAVEL
Greg said his travels bring inspiration for his cuisine. Meals in Hawaii, Australia and Costa Rica have influenced the fusion menu.
“I travel a lot for surfing and I can borrow from that,” Greg said.
On a trip to Mal País, Costa Rica, Greg was served in a bungalow by a private chef. He said the use of simple and fresh ingredients inspired him in his own cooking.
“The chef just grabbed what he had and prepared a fine dining experience,” he said. “And he was surfing every day.”
Riding big waves is Greg’s big passion outside of the kitchen. He grew up in San Luis Obispo and moved to Oahu because he said he “wanted bigger waves and warmer waters.”
The chef tried snowboarding last winter, but admitted he misses the surf.
“I miss the ocean,” he said. “I could go back tomorrow.”
The surfer plans to stay in Incline and stay with Fredrick’s, only if, he said, “Hawaii doesn’t tempt me back.”
Greg’s Lobster Dogs won Best Food at Northstar’s Autumn Food and Wine Festival in 2008.
The popular appetizer consists of ginger-leek breaded lobster meat combined with spicy red bananas, a spicy red banana sauce and a tomatillo sauce to make for a unique taste.
Although his creation earned him a gold medal, the chef stays humble. Greg describes himself as “not just a chef,” and blames the Food Network’s many reality shows for creating such a negative image around the profession.
“Chefs got put on such a pedestal,” he said. “There’s no room for that anywhere.”
Greg said he just wants his customers to experience something they don’t eat everyday.
“I like to make what people aren’t going to make at home,” he said. “We want to serve something they’ve never tried before.”
Incline’s flux in seasons is something Greg and his staff have gotten used to. Summers can often be booked out and local support keeps Fredrick’s in business in the offseason.
But aiming for creative cuisine with fresh ingredients while also keeping prices affordable can be difficult, Greg said.
“You’re watching every dollar and running a tight shop. You have to be 100 percent proud,” he said.
Thursday is locals’ night with half price sushi at the bar and on Wednesday’s happy hour lasts all night.
It’s a way to say to the locals, “hey, we appreciate you,” Greg said, and let the community know that, “Fredrick’s isn’t just doing things on weekends.”
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Greg said he grew up working in the service industry. From busboy to bartender, the chef has worked in many different atmospheres.
Greg passes on his knowledge too. He said his four-year-old daughter Sydney “isn’t a baby anymore” as she is scrambling her own eggs and helping her father make bread.
Fredrick’s also offers on- and off-site catering. Cooking for events allows Greg to play with the menu.
“Custom catering allows me to be creative without disrupting our structure,” he said.
Reservations are recommended for Fredrick’s Fusion Bistro and walk-ins are welcome at the bar. The bistro is open from 5-9:30 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday.
Jenny Luna is a freelance reporter for the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Sierra Sun newspapers. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I like to make what people aren’t going to make at home.”