Superb dining at Stella

070413-Tastes_Hawaiian Ahi Tartar

Chef Jacob Burton has created a delectable menu at Stella featuring fresh, seasonal available ingredients with a flair for interesting flavor pairings.

Stella offers a four-course tasting menu nightly with an optional wine tasting available, and items are offered a la carte, as well.

My sister Michelle Allen and I opted for the four-course tasting menu (which features smaller portion of each dish) so that we can make the most of our experience.

Tim Murphy, front of the house manager, waited on us throughout the evening, providing insight into each of the dishes. And, with the tasting menu, amuse bouche punctuate the dinner. Our night started with a Duck Confit on seeded cracker for Michelle, with a white bean Bruschetta for me.


For our first course, I started with the Beet and Pickled Granny Smith Apple Salad, while Michelle enjoyed the beautifully prepared Hawaiian Ahi Tartar.

The beet salad was prepared with golden beats complemented by the flavors of the pickled Granny Smith Apples and served with a golden honey-tahini emulsion, awaze spiced pistachios and edible flower petals.

The Hawaiian Ahi Tartar featured an interesting and wonderfully flavorful pairing of the Ahi with strawberry, avocado, micro wasabi salad and ginger-sesame aioli topped with rice noodles.

Michelle continued with seafood for her second course with the Seared Albacore, while the Arugula Salad was my choice.

The Seared Rare Albacore presented a good balance of flavors served with charred bok choy with a spicy coconut red curry and togarashi potato chips. I enjoyed the Arugula Salad with mâché, bing cherries, hazelnut oil, pine nuts, shaved pecorino, a duo of aged vinegars.

For our entrees, Michelle opted for the Marinated Flat Iron Steak at Tim’s recommendation, while I had a vegetarian entrée specially prepared for me. Chef Burton is happy to accommodate special dietary requests.

The Flat Iron Steak had Michelle content with the tender meat complemented by crispy smoked fingerling potatoes and king trumpet mushrooms with a veal demi. My vegetarian delight featured the fingerling potatoes with the spicy coconut red curry, with carrots, greens and togarashi potato chips. It was wonderful, and I dipped up every last bite of the curry with the housemade bread.

We had picked our dessert choices before we even ordered dinner: Carrot Cake for me and Chocolate Ganache Tart for Michelle. I loved Chef Burton’s take on the traditional Carrot Cake with an orange-mirin frosting, white shoyu caramel, ginger ice cream and candied seaweed. And, the ganache was amazing with a shortbread crust, raspberry coulis and toffee ice cream.

But, that wasn’t the end. Coffees are served with brioche and a trio of jellies – strawberry, apricot and jalapeño. And, the night ends with rich ganache truffles with dehydrated peanut butter. I can’t wait for my next visit to Stella.

Stella is open Wednesday to Sunday with seatings starting at 5:30 p.m. Reservations are required and may be made at (530) 582-5655 or Cooking videos of all of Chef Burton’s dishes also are available at 

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Katherine Hill
Katherine first moved to Tahoe in 1998 and has been in love with the Tahoe Sierra region since. She has been in the journalism field for more than 25 years and has worked for daily and weekly newspapers and magazines, as well as online publications and Web sites, as an award-winning writer and editor. In the fall of 2013, Katherine became only the third owner of the Tahoe Weekly magazine, and today serves as its Publisher and Editor In Chief. She currently serves as the President of the Tahoe City Downtown Association and is a member of the North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council and the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Federal Advisory Commission.