For all the other niceties that surround Sun Mountain Lodge—spectacular views of the North Cascades and alpine meadows, beautiful building and grounds, spacious and nicely appointed rooms, all the spa services you’d ever need, a fine network of hiking trails, world-class dining room—its Wolf Creek Bar & Grill continues to amaze me at how inferior the food is. (A previous review is here.) It shares the same kitchen as the dining room where we’ve had memorable meals before. Unfortunately, the dining room is open for service only on Fridays and Saturdays during the off-season, which meant we either had to drive back into town (about a half hour’s drive) or eat at the bar & grill. Expediency won out.
Let’s start with Wolf Creek Salad. The menu description sounded enticing enough: mixed greens, roasted beets, Brussels sprouts, red peppers, winter squash, caramelized onion, candied pecans, feta cheese, cranberry vinaigrette. Of these, the roasted butternut squash didn’t work. It was too soft and mushy. The other ingredients were fine, but that was before dressing it with balsamic vinaigrette, which we opted for instead of cranberry. We asked that it be served on the side. The vinaigrette was so emulsified that it was as thick as mayonnaise, which meant that it was impossible to dress the salad lightly. It became an aesthetic nightmare weighed down by globs of dressing. (☆☆)
Wild Boar Sausage Pizza sounded interesting. Again, the menu description raised our hopes: Roma tomatoes, basil, mushrooms, red and green bells, red onions, Mozzarella, “crust rubbed with olive oil, black pepper, salt, garlic.” First, the toppings were applied too thickly. When will we get away from the idea that more is better? Almost every bite sent something falling off the crust. There might’ve been some salvation if the flavors coalesced but when you put lots of raw vegetables on a pizza crust, all that happens is that they soften, get watery and taste like—raw vegetables. To add insult to injury, the crust had the consistency of freezer pizza, with none of the crackery surface and incomparable inner chew of the best examples. (☆☆)
We will likely have dinner at the bar & grill again on our last night, only because we don’t want to make the drive to Winthrop. At least, the beers on tap are good and the cocktail menu seems interesting and original. We could just have pretzels.
Wolf Creek Bar & Grill
Sun Mountain Lodge
604 Patterson Lake Rd
Winthrop, WA 98862