WINTER GUIDE: Signature Dishes

By Beacon Staff

Eating out this weekend? Here’s a list of signature dishes served at local restaurants and recommended by some the area’s finest chefs. Courtesy of the Beacon’s annual Winter Guide magazine – on newsstands now.


Huckleberry Lamb Chops

One of North Bay Grille’s newest additions, the “Huckleberry Lamb Chops” are prepared over a mesquite wood-fired grill and glazed with champagne huckleberry sauce. The huckleberries are wild, harvested locally. Kevin Pitt, North Bay’s manager, said the wood-fired grill “adds a lot of flavor.” North Bay Grille (406-755-4441) is a downtown hotspot located at 139 First Avenue West, open for lunch Mon.-Fri. at 11:30 a.m. and nightly for dinner beginning at 5 p.m. Cost: $24.95

Buffalo Pizza

The pizza menu at Capers is new and co-owner Vonnie Day said one of the prizes is the “Buffalo Pizza.” It’s made with local buffalo sausage, fresh oregano, mozzarella, grilled artichoke hearts and roasted Roma tomatoes. Day said her husband spent months finding the perfect formula for the pizza dough, made from Montana hard wheat. This Naples-style, 10-inch pizza satisfies a big appetite. Capers (406-755-7687) is located at 121 Main Street, open Tues.-Sat. from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. On weekends, the pizza menu is served until 10 p.m. Cost: $14.95


Pheasant Enchiladas

While Pescado Blanco offers a number of unique dishes, such as the seasonal bison short ribs, one of its most well-known dinners is the “Pheasant Enchiladas.” Sautéed pheasant is rolled in handmade white corn tortillas and topped with the chef’s peanut mole sauce and cheese. David Lewis puts great care into making meals that you won’t be able to find at any other Mexican restaurant and they’re all delicious. Pescado Blanco (406-862-3290) is located at 235 First Street, open nightly from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Cost: $20.95

Low Country Shrimp and Grits

It’s tough to beat this dish at Tupelo Grille. A Beacon favorite, the “Low Country Shrimp and Grits” is made with creamy garlic-cheddar grit cake, grilled shrimp and tasso cream. Most likely, you’ve never tried a grits dish quite like it, nor have you ever tried a shrimp dish quite like it. It’s a beautiful marriage. And to make the deal sweeter, the price was recently lowered. Tupelo Grille (406-862-6136) is located downtown at 17 Central Avenue, open nightly 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Cost: $17


Cajun Shrimp Pasta

One of the only restaurants that boasts prime rib nightly, the Bigfork Inn also showcases a few other specialties, including the “Cajun Shrimp Pasta.” Served in a healthy portion, this angel hair pasta is sautéed with a blend of sharp cheese, topped with Cajun-spiced shrimp and grilled fresh red peppers. Owner David May said it’s one of those dishes that his customers “can’t live without.” The Bigfork Inn (406-837-6680) is located at 604 Electric Avenue and open for dinner nightly at 5 p.m. Cost: $18.50

Roasted Rack of Lamb

Showthyme has long been one of Bigfork’s top dining destinations, offering several staples that people have learned to associate with excellence. One such dish is the “Roasted Rack of Lamb,” which is sauced with sundried wild Maine blueberry, rosemary, port demi-glace and served with the potato of the day. Showthyme (406-837-0707) is located downtown at 548 Electric Avenue, open Tue.-Sat. from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Cost: $23.95

Columbia Falls:

In-House Smoked Ribs

Take your pick between three different kinds of “In-House Smoked Ribs” at the Back Room: country style, baby back or spare ribs. If you can’t decide, go for the rib sampler. Manager Jay Marqueson said the pork ribs are prepared with the chef’s special rub and are filling for even the big appetites. Marqueson reminds that his restaurant is “family run, locally owned.” The Back Room (406-892-3131) is located at 522 Ninth Street West, open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. everyday and 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. Cost: $13.95-$17.95

Kung Pao Chicken

At one of the best Asian restaurants in the Flathead Valley, Tien’s Place serves up a heaping portion of “Kung Pao Chicken” for a low price. Lightly breaded chicken is sautéed with hoisin and oyster sauce, then tossed with peppers, green onions and peanuts. You can order it mild, medium or hot, and it comes with combination or steamed rice. One order is enough for one hungry person or two light eaters. Tien’s Place (406-892-1585) is located at 329 Ninth Street West, open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. seven days a week. Cost: $8.95


Smoked Prime Rib

East Shore Smoke House offers up its specialty “Smoked Prime Rib,” a delicious cut of certified Black Angus beef, smoked with a combination of hickory and apple, then served with a homemade whipped cream horseradish sauce. Everything at East Shore is prepared in house, including its tasty sauces and toppings. Owner Jim Bassets says “our fireplace is always lit and we’re waiting to welcome you.” East Shore Smoke House (406-887-2096) is located at 35103 Montana Highway 35 outside of Polson, open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Cost: $19.95 for 8 oz., $24.95 for 12 oz.


Pacific Halibut

Francois Zanni, general manager of The Docks, said he implemented a fine dining menu for the first time this winter at his restaurant. One of the showcase dinners is the “Pacific Halibut,” which is made with a porcini mushroom coating, pan-seared then roasted in the oven, and served on top of wild rice pilaf and garlic green beans. The Docks (406-844-3625) is located at 7135 U.S. Highway 93 South in Lakeside, open in the winter at 5 p.m. Wed.-Sun. Cost: $25

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