To be clear, this post is not to blow smoke up anyone's nether region, but a completely honest account of my visit to Stella. I'll also give you the summary now, because I feel like writing a little bit tonight. Stella is now the best meal/dining experience I've ever or my wife has ever had in our lives. If you are within a 3000 mile radius of North Lake Tahoe, you should go. Those outside of that distance, you should also go.
Now, the rest, with the blow by blow.
That gallery will link to the pictures I took tonight. I missed a couple of the intermezzi but i think only two. There was a halibut ceviche tapa and a watermelon and green apple gazpacho. They were excellent.
One of the coolest vibes of the whole night was just the pleasant atmosphere, and the notion that everyone that was there was happy to be there, cooks and servers alike. My wife actually pointed this out, and she's never even worked in a restaurant, yet still picked up on it. For any of us that have spent any amount of time in a restaurant, you know the dead weight, because it slows down your kitchen, or in my case when i was a server/bartender, will not run your food despite your own ball busting to run theirs. It just did not have the negative kitchen vs. wait staff environment found in so many restaurants. Although Roger was our server (he was great), I think we talked to almost every other person working that night at some point, even if just for small talk. The place is beautiful, really cool outdoor seating, though we sat inside. That's all I'll say about the dining experience. It was top notch, better service than I've ever experienced, yet not haughty or stuffy in the least bit.
Now, what I presume you all want to hear about...the food was impeccable. The bread that came out first was insane. As those of you who regularly read the blog know, it is all baked in house. You'll see the bread in one of the pics, one is just a regular sourdough loaf, the other is a fennel seed loaf. They were served with butter with smoked sea salt.
There are two ways to experience the menu. You can order a la carte, or what we did, which is a 4 course fixed price sampler, with the option of a wine pairing. The pictures are titled, and you can download the menu to check out more of the details past the titles. The wine pairings that were set up were so spot on, and there was not a single wine that was subpar. Since I can go on for hours about each dish, I have to say that the reconstructed chicken thigh floored me. It was like nothing I've ever eaten before. Also, the Cinnamon Quail was killer. For dessert, I got the bruleed banana split. Bananas are one of my favorite foods of all time, and it saddens me that my wife hates them - It looked so good, even she had to try it, and liked it! If you've read the recipe for the chocolate truffles, they come out as a finish with the check. They are every bit as amazing as you'd imagine.
Thanks to all of the Stella staff for one of the most memorable nights we've ever had, and certainly the most memorable of our trip to Tahoe. Feel free to post with any other questions, I'll be glad to answer them.