Culinary masterpieces take practice |

Culinary masterpieces take practice

Cassandra Walker
Lone Eagle Grille's seared scallops melt in your mouth and brilliantly incorporate fall flavors with butternut squash and raisins.
Cassandra Walker / Sierra Sun |

Lone Eagle Grille in Incline Village is an upscale restaurant serving gourmet dishes in a relaxed atmosphere suitable for all occassions.

“When you dine here, of course we want you to have really amazing food, but we want you to leave with more than just having a great meal, we want you to have an experience or a memory with people you enjoy, as well as the great meal,” said Lone Eagle Grille’s chef de cuisine, Shane Hammett.

When people are thinking of where to reserve for their next family vacation, Hammett said his goal for The Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort’s flagship restaurant is to set the benchmark atmosphere for celebrating special occasions.

Lone Eagle Grille features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, and decorated to reflect the cozy mountain lifestyle.

From your first cocktail to dessert, there is something for everyone to enjoy. And the culinary team takes great care in ensuring their flavors and techniques are top-notch.

The bartenders masterfully balance complex flavors for some stand-out cocktails like “Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire,” which uses St. George Green Chile Vodka, Xicaru Mezcal, passion fruit, fresh lime and pineapple juice.

Another unique cocktail, less fruit-forward and refreshing is the “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” which combines Tito’s vodka with lavender syrup, fresh lemonade and pineapple juice.

The cocktail menu changes seasonally, as does the main food menu and the vegetarian menu.

“You have to have great ingredients to be successful,” Hammett said.

Hammett opened his kitchen for an afternoon to showcase several of the restaurant’s flagship dishes.

He broke down the ingredient components, explaining why he chooses certain flavors to pair together, and demonstrated how his team gets creative with plating and presentation.

His first demonstration was for their most popular dish, Ahi poke. He layers avocado with Ahi tossed in a sriracha-sesame sauce, drizzles unagi and wasabi cream sauces around the tower and serves with taro chips.

The chef casually whipped up some seared scallops next, served atop butternut squash puree and topped with radish slices, raisins and micro greens.

Anyone who has eaten at Lone Eagle Grille has likely seen a Baked Tahoe make its way to a table or two, or ordered one for themselves, and for good reason — the dessert is a cone of frozen ice cream with toffee and a chocolate cookie base adorned with piped, pronged petals, which stick out and make the entire dessert resemble a pinecone.

For the finishing touch, the culinary team takes a blowtorch to the puff and lightly roasts the outside.

The finesse that is required to pipe the perfect pinecone is no joke, and it’s even a full-time job during the summer.

Hammett and his team shared examples of the fall menu, highlighting the restaurant’s beet salad with goat cheese presented to resemble a bird’s nest, a sustainably sourced New York steak and bison, a charcuterie board, even a new take on Brussels sprouts — they shave the sprouts to keep from getting the famed underdone/burned juxtaposition of a typical roasted Brussels sprout.

With four menu changes per year, Lone Eagle Grille keeps things fresh for locals and visitors.

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.

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