Jackalope Ranch is as much a destination as it is a restaurant. With 21,000 square feet, several patios with a view of luscious landscaping and twin waterfalls, three glorious kitchens, and a centrally located Southern Pride smoker wafting the sweet fragrance of apply, cherry, and hickory woods, there is quite a bit to relish here — on and off the menu.
And even though the restaurant is known for its exceptional meats and signature barbecue, other menu items, such as a notable selection of fish, stand out considerably.
Restaurateur Lee Morcus points out that in addition to using the finest sustainable fresh fish available, the chefs portion the fish right in the kitchen. They also take time to perfect its cooking and presentation. Guests can choose from a tantalizing variety of fish, with an option to be blackened. Fresh Halibut and Atlantic Salmon share kitchen time with Rainbow Trout, Dungeness Crab, Catfish, Shrimp, and Petrale Sole.
For the latter, the chef lightly butters the fish and then dusts it beautifully with flour before placing it on the stove, where it is pan-seared. Imagine the enticing aroma emanating off the pan, where that distinctive convergence of secret seasonings takes over in this searing process.
Distinctive sauces are offered with these specialties, and all of them, like the special seasonings used on the fish, are created in-house, well tested, and downright flavorful: a lemon caper sauce; a tangy tartar sauce; and an unforgettable horseradish soy vinaigrette that leaves an imprint of the taste buds.
Chefs delicately prepare the Dungeness Crab before it arrives at the tip of a guest’s fork. Dungeness and special crabmeat is combined with, well, not much else. Jackalope isn’t big on “filler,” opting for a more light, “fluffy” option. After the crab is formed into generous cakes, it is sautéed perfectly on a flat grill at proper temperatures to enhance and activate its inner ingredients. The appealing cakes arrive as plentiful appetizers, on one of the restaurant’s bountiful fresh salads, or as an entrée.
Fresh shrimp? Have some. A succulent portion of plump poached shrimp is featured on Jackalope’s Shrimp Louie Salad. However guests also have the option to order crab in lieu of shrimp — or have a combination of the two.
Ample portions of shrimp reveal themselves elsewhere on the menu, primarily in a rare kind of dish, considering the company it keeps around a kitchen full of meats — pasta. Specifically, the fiery and inventively designed Shrimp Jambalaya Pasta, which features a healthy portion of perfectly cooked penne pasta and the zing of Andouille sausage and the creole-enhanced shrimp.
The end result leaves an indelible imprint on the palate. Guests remember the diversity of Jackalope’s menu, as well as the distinctive food experience.
“We always want our guests to leave with a great memory of a great evening,” Morcus says.