The Genesee Store- Beef | Beer | Books
By Eileen Majors, Photos by Angelica Monroy
It was a warm Friday Evening as we ventured through the woods toward our destination. We traveled through the picturesque town of Taylorsville, resembling a postage stamp photo of days gone by. From there, we traveled a short distance through the deep forest until the road suddenly opened up to the beautiful valley of Genesee.
It was 1862 when Edwin D. Hosselkus of Genesee, New York came to visit this small, gorgeous valley and named it Genesee. While the search for gold had led him there, his better sense caused him to begin ranching and building a mercantile business, falling and milling the trees needed to build a general store/post office, creamery, granary, and blacksmith shop. The Genesee Store came to life in 1880 as a trading post serving gold miners.
Today, the Genesee Store is a fully renovated representation of the town’s early days. Old photos on the wall include the Hosselkus brothers resting beside the logging tools they used to carve out the town. The original cook in the building, Gee Pond Joe, is also pictured. Another photo shows the front of the historic trading post complete with the stagecoach stopped out front. It commonly passed through to deliver mail and supplies for the many who had fled to the area for the California Gold Rush.
In the fields surrounding the Genesee Store is Genesee Valley Ranch, where 100% pure bred Black Wagyu cattle are sustainably raised on organic grasses. This exclusive grass-fed, Prime beef is only available in the restaurant or by joining the Brasas Food and Wine Society. You can ask you server for more information.
The food is amazing. Managing Chef Nathan Molina creates seasonal menus and everything is made from scratch using locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. Produce is procured locally from Manuel and Michelle at the Dawn Institute and from another local farm, Rugged Roots. As we arrived, a local grower named Mary was delivering fresh lavender from her garden. All sauces and ingredients in the restaurant, and even fresh jam, are made from scratch. Bone broth is house-made daily too and featured in Gee’s Noodle Bowl named after that first chef in 1880.
The staff at Genesee Store was fun and friendly. We were immediately greeted by Ashley and seated inside. She served us a pitcher or sparkling water, which is kept on tap. Others were enjoying meals on the large, outdoor deck. Some were locals while others had stopped in on their way to Antelope Lake, not far up the road. Floor-to-ceiling book shelves carry a collection of books from Northern California’s largest used book store. The books are for sale.
After a good look at their Spring menu, we decided on the Flaming Jack for an appetizer. It was delicious. The flaming molten Monterey jack cheese was served with a tray of French baguette slices and a fan of fresh, crisp apple wedges. A spread of house-made Shishito pepper jelly topped with chopped pistachios added the perfect touch to the delicious, warm cheese, spread over the toasty bread.
We enjoyed fresh green salads with house-made dressings. I am always looking for a good dressing. The bleu cheese was very flavorful. I could not resist ordering the French onion soup also, which I was told was “in season.” I was surprised to learn that Vidalia onions are indeed a seasonal crop grown only in Georgia and at the time of our visit, they were indeed at the height of perfect taste. The soup was served in traditional style and was scrumptious.
It was on to the entrees for us. Angie chose Gee’s Noodle Bowl, packed with nutrition and good flavors. House-made bone broth carried grilled wagyu beef, ramen noodles, sesame kale, soy-marinated shitake mushrooms and sliced scallions. It was deliciously prepared with seeds and spices.
I opted for the Ossobusso, a scrumptious cut of Wagyu beef, slow-roasted to tender perfection. A tiny spoon was placed in the the bone for those wishing to eat the nutritious marrow. The savory beef was served aside Rugged Roots farms’ roasted purple-top turnips and braised baby collard and chard greens. It all sat atop Brie cheese-whipped creamy polenta and was finished with a red wine reduction sauce and Lemon Groemolata for a deliciously satisfying blend of flavors.
Other entrees included on our seasonal menu were Steak and Stout Pie, Chili Garlic Prawns,Pasta and Wagyu Meatballs with San Marzano tomato sauce, slow-simmered for optimum flavor. Miso Seared Bass and Penne Pasta served with Wild Mushrooms, Snap Peas and Parmesan was also offered. A special of the day was Crispy Duck with Duck Confit Salad; there were many wonderful choices.
The menu included their signature Genesee Wagyu Burgers, a Crispy Chicken Ranch Sandwich and the French dip, served on a Brioche roll with grilled red onions, horseradish mayo, melted provolone and of course, house-made jus. A side of pickled vegetables accompanied a choice of hand cut fries or their own smoked, barbecued potato chips. We also enjoyed their signature lemonade and lavender lemonade.
Trying one of the evening dessert specials had already been decided so we packed up leftovers and ventured on to the sweeter side of the menu. The choices were Strawberry Shortcake, their famous Chocolate Chip Cookie and Pavlova Baked Meringue Dessert which we both opted for. The house-made meringue was perfectly prepared to order, as light and graceful as the ballerina it was originally named for. Chef’s delightful lemon curd and whipped cream was folded in and the dessert was topped with fresh berries and served with a side of cream, perfectly delicious in my opinion.
With every bite made from scratch using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and careful planning for peak of flavor and optimum health benefits, you’re apt to feel the difference too. We highly recommend this drive back in time for a timeless tradition, beef, beer and books. There is a wonderfully extensive wine list as well and a host of specialty drinks including non-alcoholic.