Snake River Grill was founded in 1993 and is a large place that offers spaced indoor seating (recently opened) and a couple of options for outdoor dining (as long as weather permits). All the seating is on the second level with one patio directly adjacent to the indoor area and the other on a large rooftop across some stairs, but it’s covered by a tent and has heaters. Inside you get the full ambiance of the place’s Western decor with the log walls, the candles hanging from antlers, skin wrapped light fixtures and a ceiling defined by logs and held up with log columns. The lighting is lowered and carpet is on the floor. The tables are well distanced and covered with white clothes and diners are given a matching cloth napkin once they’re seated. Some of the tables have bench seating to match the un-cushioned wood chairs. A bar is immediately in front of the entry, no music is in the background but there is lots of conversational hum and there are many windows on the walls of the various rooms. Service was slow to start but then was nicely paced and very friendly with helpful opinions. Reservations are needed and to get a good time you need to do that at least a month ahead.
They offered a printed menu or you could get it on your phone. If you get it on your phone you will be able to see the list of nightly specials and the dessert menu. We chose to have a bottle of California sparkler and a bottle of red wine to mix and match with courses. First was The SRG Steak Tartare Pizza made with Mead Ranch beef, garlic aioli, capers, parsley and red onion. We were going to start with the mushroom pizza but the server suggested the tartare pizza was very popular. It’s like having a plate of tartare already seasoned with onions and capers and spread on the accompanying bread. Indeed it was. The pizza is assembled and cooked and then just before coming out the raw beef is put on top. It was a generous amount of tasty tender meat. The pizza crust had a nice puff to the edge and a thin yet crisp middle that had lots of air pockets. The ingredients blended perfectly to produce a delicious idea for a dish.
Another nightly special was a salad of Canewater Head lettuce mixed with Greek yogurt lime dressing, fresh melons, honey pecans and pickled shallot. The tender lettuce was wonderful with really sweet honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon pieces. The whole thing was nicely dressed and the pecans added a sweet crunch. It was a perfect balance of things and plenty to split for two.
For a main plate we chose another nightly special, Mead Ranch short ribs with whipped cane water potatoes, glazed carrots, roasted onions and sauce natural. We split this plate too. Portions are generous here and we were well advised by our server to split portions so we could try more things. One plate’s beef was more tender and juicy than the other but both were good. The glazed carrots were one yellow and one orange and unpeeled and very braised on the outside skin but still quite crunchy. Both were very sweet and really fresh tasting. The onions were in pieces and not quite cooked enough for my preference but easily moved aside. My question was, had the vegetables been left crunchy to add texture to the plate or just the chef’s desire. The mashed potatoes were excellent, smooth and full of flavor. Overall, it was another good plate of food.
Dessert was SRG Eskimo bars with warm caramel sauce. They come 3 to an order with plenty of caramel sauce. They were just a couple inches in length, so again an easily split amount without being too much. Vanilla ice cream was cut and submerged in chocolate and chilled till the chocolate sets. The caramel sauce was divine and really made the dish. A richer ice cream could have improved the bars but they were merely a vehicle to get the caramel in your mouth.