During my recent trip to the Trailing of the Sheep festival in Ketchum, Idaho, we knew we had to stop for a nice dinner somewhere. After looking at restaurants online and some of their reviews, we settled for the Ketchum Grill.
We had reservations at 8pm and the place was packed. Luckily at the entrance you’re met with some nice chairs and a very warm fireplace while you wait for your table.
Once we were called, we were seated at a small table for two, where I had to squeeze in hoping not to knock anything off a fellow diner’s table. They had the night’s specials on the wall and quite a few large parties. Our drink orders were taken and a few minutes later we were presented with some great bread.
One slice seemed to be wheat and had walnuts and a fruit of some kind and tasted nutty and flavorful. Another slice was white with fruit and also tasted great. I didn’t ask what kind it was, I just ate it.
By this time my water was empty, and the waiter seemed to disappear from our table. He was doing the best he could. Management seemed to give him a whole section of about 6-7 tables and one of those had a party of eight. I’m not sure what they were thinking because he couldn’t keep up.
It took a while but then our food finally came. My mom ordered slow roasted lamb with Indian spices and mint yogurt (it was a sheep festival after all). I ordered the grilled peppered breast of duck with Idaho huckleberries and port.
I snuck a bite of the lamb and it was OK. It tasted like pot roast. For some reason I expected something a little more, especially with the price attached to it. It wasn’t dry but imagined it would be in some kind of wonderful pan juices. I’m not sure where the Indian spices were, because they weren’t in the meat. The mint yogurt didn’t really add anything to the dish when the meat was supposed to be the star. Basically, I could have made pot roast at home for a lot cheaper.
I ordered my duck medium. It was topped with an Idaho huckleberry sauce alongside some wild rice. The sauce wasn’t overly sweet and tasted pretty good. The duck breast was tough. I could barely cut through one of its stringy tendons inside the breast. I wasn’t pleased, but I ate it anyway. I’ve made duck breast at home twice, by roasting it. One time it came out wonderful and tender. Another time it came out tough. Perhaps it’s just a finicky bird to cook.
It was now time for dessert. We were full, but we weren’t going to leave without some dessert. My mom ordered the inside out German Chocolate Cake. Broiled coconut-pecan topping was layered in between rich chocolate cake, and topped with an almost too rich chocolate ganache.
I ordered the pumpkin brioche bread pudding with salted caramel ice cream. It was awesome. The pumpkin flavor was pronounced but not overdone and the housemade ice cream was creamy and delicious. The middle of the bread pudding wasn’t as warm as the outside, so I assume it was reheated, but I ate through that too. I wouldn’t want anything to go to waste.
Overall it was an OK place to eat, and my mom seemed happy. But it wouldn’t be my first choice. I’d need to experience the other fine dining hot spots in Ketchum, before giving Ketchum Grill a second look.