As many of you know, I’ve been coming to Mammoth Lakes for many years, but have never dined at Tamarack. A well regarded establishment and rooted in classical cuisine, I’ve heard from backpacker and seasoned diner alike, this is probably the best place in town. In the winter, the cross-country ski area at Mammoth is located next to the lodge.
It was my first night in Mammoth, so I generally don’t drink alcohol due to the elevation, so I had Sauvignon Blanc with dinner.
I started with the duck confit salad in a truffled dressing, with foie gras medallion and toasted bread. The duck was picked off the bone with no skin and served on the side on the salad. The duck was moist and seasoned. The lettuce mix was simple mixed greens with frisee and matchstick cut pear or apple (I didn’t ask). The bread was a little over grilled and awfully dry, but it didn’t affect the salad’s overall taste. I prefer having the whole duck leg with the skin to pick at when I order confit, but I’ll be honest, it was a good salad.
My main course was a cold smoked salmon, finished in the pan to form a crust before service. The salmon was accompanied by a medley of starch and vegetables, polenta cake with peppers, grilled bok choy, creamy potato, roasted beet root, and snap peas. While I have a personal preference for a simple unadulterated polenta cake, each and every garnish was done right. I don’t have a single issue with anything and it’s tough to bat 1000. Each garnish was seasoned, cooked properly, and presented with precision.
The salmon was a well-crafted piece of protein. The salmon was quickly cured, then cold smoked briefly to impart the flavor of smoke but not to cook. The salmon was then finished in a sauté pan until the top was golden and crispy. The salmon was well seasoned, hinted of smoke, moist and just plain good. Good use of technique from curing, to smoking, to sauté in order to achieve the finished product. Well done, very well done.
Service was pleasant and relaxed, despite a full dining room. I noticed proper wine service and wine glasses to go with it. Servers smiled, moved around the room hustling, and all the service staff touched my table throughout the evening.