It’s a given for restaurants that are open on Thanksgiving to dish up traditional turkey day fare. Surely there would be an all-out revolt if diners couldn’t get roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and tangy cranberry sauce.
But many eateries around Boise and beyond are serving more than just the storied holiday bird with all the trimmings. Some places will set up big buffet spreads packed with all kinds of choices, while others are sticking with a la carte and prix fixe menus that speak to a more modern sensibility.
No matter how you slice it, the Boise area has a plethora of choices for dining out on Thanksgiving day. Here’s a look at a few noteworthy picks. Don’t wait too long to secure a spot, though, because reservation books fill quickly this time of year.
▪ Emilio’s at The Grove Hotel, 245 S. Capitol Blvd., will be going back to serving a prix fixe Thanksgiving dinner menu after offering a sprawling buffet last year.
“The buffet wasn’t really well received,” says Chris Hain, executive chef at The Grove Hotel. “Our guests want a multiple course, sit-down dinner, and they like to be served.”
The five-course dinner (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; $38 adults, $34 seniors, $14 kids 12 and under) will feature a first course of creamy vegetable crudité with Roquefort dip, followed by roasted butternut squash bisque.
The third course includes a choice of a Caesar salad, a Northwest-inspired chopped salad or an arugula salad with dried cranberries, roasted pumpkin and walnut vinaigrette.
Next, you can make a choice between slow-roasted prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, pecan-crusted mahi mahi and prawns, pork loin roulade with honey-walnut stuffing or roasted turkey with natural gravy, whipped spuds, sage stuffing, candied yams and clementine-cranberry preserves.
For a sweet finale, you can choose roasted apple-cranberry cheesecake, silky white chocolate-pumpkin mousse or maple-bourbon pecan tart.
Reservations: (208) 333-8002.
▪ Chandlers at Hotel 43, 981 W. Grove St., once again is offering a prix fixe menu ($47 per person) from 2 to 9 p.m. But it’s important to note this year that the popular steak and seafood restaurant won’t be serving its regular a la carte menu in concert with the special menu like it has in the past.
Executive chef Luis Flores and his crew will primarily focus on putting out a three-course dinner that includes a choice of starters such as wild mushroom soup, roasted butternut squash soup, roasted beet salad, Waldorf salad, wedge salad or an anchovy-heavy Caesar salad.
For an entrée, you can choose pan-seared sea bass, double lamb chops with apple-mint chutney, slow-roasted prime rib, petite filet mignon or a hearty vegetarian platter. And traditionalists will be able to get roasted, sliced turkey breast with tarragon-pine nut stuffing, roasted root veggies, orange-cranberry relish and mashed potatoes and gravy.
Dessert choices include pumpkin pie topped with a big puff of Chantilly cream or warm apple cobbler with cinnamon ice cream.
Reservations: (208) 383-4300.
▪ The Owyhee Tavern recently opened in the former Gamekeeper space, 1109 Main St., at The Owyhee building. Diners here can enjoy a limited Thanksgiving menu from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The stylish steak-and-seafood restaurant and bar is the sister establishment to the Tavern at Bown Crossing, which in recent years has offered a special Thanksgiving menu. That’s not the case this year. The attention on turkey day will be turned to the Owyhee Tavern.
“The Thanksgiving menu is kind of like what we’ve done in the past at Bown Crossing, only we will have more steaks and upscale options,” co-owner Barry Werner says.
For starters, try the prime beef fondue ($15), charcuterie ($15), oysters on the half shell ($3 each), or go big with the $100 Seafood Tower. Entrées include smoked prime rib ($24/$45), filet mignon ($34), Cajun-inspired swordfish ($29) and broiled king salmon ($24) with saffron-tomato vinaigrette.
As for the bird, the restaurant is offering a three-course turkey dinner ($40 per person) that starts folks off with a choice of smoked salmon corn chowder, butternut squash soup or a salad. The main course includes herb-rubbed roasted turkey breast, turkey leg confit, cornbread stuffing, roasted Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, mashed Yukon Gold spuds and gravy.
The third course includes a trip through the dessert buffet, which will boast various holiday pies and other sweet treats.
Make reservations at owyheetavern.com or call (208) 639-0440.
▪ The Thanksgiving reservation book at Cottonwood Grille, 913 W. River St., is pretty much full at this point, but you can call to see if there are any cancellations.
The longtime restaurant is serving a special a la carte menu from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Entrées include halibut Onati ($31), shrimp scampi ($20), slow-roasted prime rib ($35) and roasted turkey ($29) with mashed potatoes and all that good stuff. Kids 12 and under can get a turkey dinner for $15.
Phone: (208) 333-9800.
▪ The Modern Hotel and Bar, 1314 W. Grove St., is once again breaking tradition by sticking with its late-fall a la carte menu alongside a few specials. Chef Nate Whitley is known for doing things in an unconventional manner.
“I don’t feel like doing turkey, but oysters sound like fun,” he says.
“People like to come here to get away from big Thanksgiving dinners.”
Whitley hasn’t yet nailed down the specials, but he expects to have fresh oysters on the half shell (with tangy mignonette) and possibly lamb carpaccio.
No reservations needed.
You can view the current menu at themodernhotel.com.
Big buffet spreads
▪ Angell’s Bar and Grill Renato, 999 Main St., is offering the best of both worlds on Thanksgiving day with a buffet during the day and an a la carte menu at night.
The venerable restaurant will be setting up a big buffet ($34.99 adults, $24.99 ages 9-13, $14.99 ages 5-8) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The spread includes carving stations (with roasted turkey, prime rib, ham and herb-rubbed lamb) and all kinds of comforting side dishes, salads, soups, a three-tier chocolate fountain and various desserts.
At night, from 5 to 8 p.m., you can order from a special Thanksgiving a la carte menu that has appetizers such as cranberry-goat cheese crostini ($8), peel-and-eat shrimp ($9) and steamed clams and mussels ($12).
Featured entrées include slow-roasted turkey ($24), glazed Virginia ham ($24), roasted lamb ($29), blackened salmon ($32) and cracked pepper-and-sea salt-crusted prime rib ($29). Entrées come with a choice of Gorgonzola mashed spuds or rosemary roasted potatoes, and a choice of either yams in bourbon glaze, roasted butternut squash or glazed carrots.
Reservations: (208) 342-4900.
▪ The Riverside Hotel, 2900 W. Chinden Blvd, is once again going all out on Thanksgiving with a sprawling buffet from 1 to 5:30 p.m.
The buffet ($32 adults, $25 seniors, $15 kids 6-12) will have herb-roasted turkey, honey-glazed ham and salmon braids with lemon-chive sauce, in addition to a plethora of side dishes, savory breads, salads and assorted pies and cakes.
Make reservations at (208) 343-1871 (ext. 4110) or opentable.com/id/boise-restaurants.
▪ In Eagle, Chateau des Fleurs, 176 S. Rosebud Lane, is serving a Thanksgiving brunch buffet ($44 adults, $25 kids 3-9) from noon to 3 p.m.
Work your way through an elaborate buffet that will have meat-carving stations (with honey-maple ham, prime rib and smoked turkey), cream of pumpkin soup, poached salmon, assorted salads and sides such as green beans amandine, oyster stuffing, potato puree and candied yams. For dessert you can enjoy pumpkin pie, apple pie and velvety chocolate mousse.
Make reservations at chateaueagle.com.
▪ Eagle Hills Golf Course, 605 N. Edgewood Lane, is setting up a big Thanksgiving buffet ($31.95 adults, $28.95 seniors, $18.95 kids 12 and under) from noon to 4:30 p.m.
The menu includes two kinds of roasted turkey, tri-tip beef with creamy horseradish sauce, side dishes galore and house-baked pies.
Reservations: (208) 939-0402.
Want to eat at home but save yourself the work of cooking?
PizzalChik, 7330 W. State St., will create Thanksgiving dinners that you take home. They come in two sizes: 12- to 15-pound turkey, 32 ounces of gravy, 20 ounces of stuffing and 12 ounces of cranberry relish ($86.99), or 18- to 23-pound turkey, 40 ounces, 40 ounces and 24 ounces ($121.95).
“The gravy is a yearlong process,” owner Brad Breakell says, “of reducing stocks and freezing them, compilating on Thanksgiving into this amazing gravy. Gluten-free available as well. Stuffing is a bread stuffing with celery, onions and carrots, garlic and wine-soaked dried fruit and fresh poultry seasoning. Cranberry relish is a true raw relish made from cranberries, oranges and sugar finished with port wine.”
Order ahead at (208) 853-7757 by Tuesday and select a Thanksgiving Day pick-up time between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
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Get out of town on Thanksgiving
▪ Rupert’s at Hotel McCall, 1101 N. Third St., is currently taking reservations for its a la carte Thanksgiving dinner served from 1 to 5 p.m.
Executive chef Gary Kucy isn’t fond of setting up buffets, but he’s come up with an inventive holiday menu that should keep diners happy.
“I usually do a traditional dinner because that’s what everyone wants, but there are some other good choices on the menu,” he says.
Here’s how it works: order an individually priced entrée and you will receive a starter chosen from a list that includes roasted winter squash bisque, a mixed baby greens salad or a marinated beet salad with Belgian endive, local feta and pomegranate dressing.
Fully-loaded entrées include a cast iron-seared ribeye steak ($33), Dover sole stuffed with crab and spinach ($29) and of course, a traditional roasted turkey dinner ($28) with mashed spuds, roasted yams, fall vegetables, sourdough stuffing, apple cider-sage pan gravy and cranberry relish.
Children 12 and under pay $14 for entrées.
For $7, you can get desserts such as pumpkin pie, chocolate-pecan tart and sticky toffee pudding with vanilla bean ice cream.
Reservations: (208) 634-8108.
▪ Just down the road at Shore Lodge, 501 W. Lake St., The Narrows restaurant will be all gussied up for Thanksgiving. Make reservations soon, though, because the book is filling up quickly.
Diners can order from an a la carte menu (offered noon to 7 p.m.) that boasts starters such as roasted butternut squash-apple soup ($8), smoked trout bruschetta ($15) and seared foie gras ($21) with spiced French toast, roasted apple and apple brandy syrup.
Main course options include pan-seared king salmon ($34), roasted turkey with the works ($36 large/$17 small), sweet potato lasagna ($22) and quail done two ways ($31) with root veggie hash, braised kale and balsamic glaze, to name a few.
The dessert menu features traditional pumpkin pie ($7), white chocolate pot de crème ($8) and a cast-iron Nutella cookie ($11) with hazelnut Florentine and bourbon toasted marshmallow, to name a few sweet treats.
Reservations: (800) 657-6464.
▪ Why not head to Sun Valley Resort on Thanksgiving? The storied mountain resort (1 Sun Valley Road) is celebrating its 80th ski season this year.
You can dig into a grand Thanksgiving buffet in the Sun Valley Inn’s Limelight Room from 3 to 8 p.m. The spread includes turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetable side dishes, salads, assorted desserts and more. The buffet costs $75/advance purchase or $95/at the door for adults, $45/advance purchase or $60 at the door for kids 12 and under. Tickets are available at the Sun Valley Recreation office, (208) 622-2135, or at sunvalley.com.
If a buffet isn’t to your liking, Gretchen’s in the main lodge and The Ram at the Sun Valley Inn will be offering plated Thanksgiving specials throughout the day. You can even get room-service turkey dinners from 5 to 10 p.m.
▪ Tannins restaurant at Crossings Winery, 1289 W. Madison Ave., in Glenns Ferry will be dishing up a traditional Thanksgiving dinner ($20 per person) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The menu includes a choice of roasted turkey or honey-glazed ham served with all the fixings and various desserts. For reservations, call (208) 366-2313.