Sensory heaven at Evan’s

Nestled in a quaint Tahoe cabin in South Lake Tahoe stands a food and wine retreat that is the top Zagat-rated dining experience in the region. Let me introduce Evan’s American Gourmet Café.



Lamb | Courtesy Evan’s American Gourmet Cafe

The pride and commitment of 28 years of ownership by Evan and Candace Williams show through in every detail. Their team provides formal service while making guests feel as casual. In addition, Evan Williams is a professional wine judge and passionate advocate of all things vine. In the kitchen, chef Dustin Hull creates ever-changing menus that reflect his intent to blend cuisine styles from the world over.


“Nestled in a quaint Tahoe cabin in South Lake Tahoe stands
a food and wine retreat that is the top Zagat-rated
dining experience in the region.”


Knowing Chef Null’s reputation for out-of-the-box pasta dishes, we started with the saffron fettuccine with scallops in a creamy, herb-inflected bath dusted with fresh, chopped green onions. Redolent of spice, herbs, rich pasta and the fresh onions, this calls for a super hero of a wine to match and balance all the textures, flavors and complexities. To the rescue came the 2007 Roederer Estate L’Ermitage. Brioche, saline, vanilla cream and a beam of citrus are all in play here, reminding one that top California sparklers can match anything from Champagne.


Lobster Stuffed Salmon | Courtesy Evan’s American Gourmet Cafe

Another special du jour was the lobster-stuffed salmon served with caramelized onion mashers and broccoli napped in a buerre blanc. Seafood and butter sauce love them some Chardonnay, especially a rich and energetic one from a cool vintage, such as 2011, and the Auteur Durell Vineyards was chockfull of cookie spice, body, fresh coconut and crisp apple making for a wonderful course partner with the seafood.

It seemed hard to top that but we tried our best with a rosemary-garlic rack of lamb prepared medium rare in a raspberry and wine demi-glaze with parsnip mashed potatoes and a refreshing foil of minted zucchini curls. Monte Rosso is one of California’s great Zinfandel vineyards and the 2008 Rosenblum Cellars version brings it with earthy, herby, dark-berry, peppery goodness. It is magic with lamb and root vegetables.


Raspberry Tart | Courtesy Evan’s American Gourmet Cafe

Seeking maximum food-wine bliss, we finished with the chocolate raspberry crème brûlée tart with a graham-cracker crust brushed with dark chocolate. Gotta go port here and Williams offers one of the best port and dessert wine selections in the region. There are about 125 available by the glass or bottle. The brûlée treatment and graham cracker call for a tawny — the Dow’s 10 Year Old Tawny made for a perfect pastry partner.

You’ll find all this sensory heaven at 536 Emerald Bay Road. For more information or reservations, call (530) 542-1990 or visit Bon appétit.


Lou Phillips is a Level 3 Advanced Sommelier and his consulting business assists in the selling, buying and managing wine collections. He may be reached at (775) 544-3435 or Visit for more wine columns.