Eating Sea Bass at Jake’s on Lake Tahoe

On our road trip we were mostly eating snacks and fast food. Eating endless junk food was great but when we got the chance to sit down with local friends at Lake Tahoe, we jumped at the chance. Is there anything better than eating fish on the waterfront?

Jake’s is set up like the local family favorite. Family, friends and even dogs are welcome. When you walk through the door, you don’t feel like family, you are family. There’s a healthy chatter mixed in with a constant clinking of silverware. You can see waitresses hugging guests in front of the deck, while the sun sets in the background. There’s a lot going on but it isn’t overwhelming in the slightest. Instead it is unpretentious, welcoming and casual. It is home.

That being said, the cuisine is hardly what you would cook at home. There are no lackluster grilled cheese sandwiches here. Rather, what you have is a hearty offering from land and sea. I opted for the sea bass. The wild sea bass, which came with, ginger saffron coconut risotto, crispy pancetta, sweet chili pineapple, patty pan squash and cilantro.

The dish was well sized with all the different components. The patty pan squash reminded me of bitter lemon. It was a lovely touch since it added an unexpected layer of dimension to the dish. The amount of elements made me skeptical as to if there would be a balance or if the plate itself would be overcomplicated, however there was a lovely harmony at play.

The greatest revelation was that I unintentionally ordered a very Caribbean flavored dish. Reading over the description of the sea bass; wild sea bass with, ginger saffron coconut risotto, crispy pancetta, sweet chili pineapple, patty pan squash and cilantro. You will notice there’s fresh fish, coconut and pineapple, all very typical Caribbean flavors. Jake’s menu is inspired by Californian and Hawaiian flavors, but I didn’t automatically think it would taste so familiar. In retrospect, Hawaii is basically a cluster of tropical islands, much like the Caribbean. It was a nice reminder that even when I’m not intentionally trying to choose familiar flavors, I’m  drawn to them subconsciously. Also that it may be time to go home since apparently even your tastebuds can get homesick.

If you are ever around Lake Tahoe make sure to visit, Jake’s on the Lake. Tell them who sent you, and that the sea bass tastes surprisingly Caribbean!

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