Down in the valley

Chase Rowe and Shalyn Lewallen dine fine at CV Steak at the Carson Valley Inn.

Chase Rowe and Shalyn Lewallen dine fine at CV Steak at the Carson Valley Inn.

Photo By allison young

CV Steak at the Carson Valley Inn is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 4:30 p.m. until 9 p.m.

It’s a classic Nevada-style steakhouse, with fine dining in an atmosphere of comfort and timeless elegance, offering guests the finest cuts of prime meats, fresh seafood and much more. The CV Steak experience focuses on providing undeniably great service and classically prepared cuisine in a truly impressive setting. You’ll find tables and booths with proper linens, a full bar with a dozen signature martinis all at $8.50, and a wine list befitting any of the top restaurants in Northern Nevada. With the new freeway, the drive from Reno is a little less than an hour and well worth the trip.

For the last decade, Executive Chef Gary Oien, a nationally certified member of the ACF High Sierra Chefs Association, has been the man behind the menu. His pedigree includes Harrah’s and Harvey’s at Lake Tahoe and the Thunderbird-Red Lyon chain over the past two decades. His current offerings of starters run the gambit from lobster bisque ($7) to stuffed mushrooms with goat cheese ($7) to salmon tartare ($7) prepared table-side.

There are Italian pastas ($15-$24) and beef stroganoff ($19), a classic, rare find on today’s menus. Chilean sea bass ($28) caught my eye in the seafood and chicken ($19-$28) selections, and the steaks, USDA choice Nebraska meat ($18-$29) and grilled lamb chops ($28) made this bill of fare very complete. But wait, there’s a special selections offering ($26-$39), with lobster tail, shrimp tournedos and even a gourmet hamburger (a.k.a. “French Disaster,” $19). It’s three quarters of a pound topped with duck foie gras and quail egg charbroiled with cheese, tomato, romaine, house-made pickles, truffle mayonnaise and garlic fries.

But what got my attention was the seafood mix grill, with a four-ounce beef tenderloin ($30). It included half a lobster tail, bacon-wrapped scallops, clams and shrimp with the beef. The lobster was sweet and tender. The applewood-smoked bacon around the white wine and garlic sautéed silver-dollar-sized scallops held the smoky, savory, tender sea meat together. Shrimp the size of a man’s thumb and manila clams also cooked in the white wine-garlic bath were flavorful and tender. An amazing twice-baked potato and fresh green beans with shallots and chopped bacon rounded out this repast.

Dessert was killer—Grande Marnier cheesecake ($7) dipped in dark chocolate—wow! There’s a proper after-dinner drink menu ($4-$18) of Cognacs, single malts and ports.

The extensive and well-rounded wine list—including 22 by-the-glass choices ($5-$13)—is fun to read, and there’s a premier selections list ($52-$190), with names like Perrier-Jouét, Cakebread, Far Niente, Stag’s Leap, Caymus, and Nickel & Nickel. But being a true Burgundian and following my wine mantra—there are no rules, just drink what you like—I went with the Buena Vista Carneros Pinot Noir ($9).

Before there were vineyards in every valley north of San Francisco, before Napa and Sonoma were household names, before there was a California wine world at all, there was Buena Vista. Founded in 1857, Buena Vista is California’s first premium winery. This solid Pinot has aromatic smells of black cherry and cranberry rising subtly out of the glass that evolve into scents of rose hips and eucalyptus. On the palate, the tannins are lightened by a nice acidity that makes this a very balanced wine.

In today’s health-conscious society, many people are opting for more chicken and fish in their meals or turning to vegetarian lifestyles. But if you still enjoy a good, stick-to-your-ribs, meat-and-potatoes dinner once in a while, then you’ll enjoy the experience of dining at CV Steak, and they cover you fish and chicken folks, too.