Small Plates, Bold Flavors

Since Chef Lemens’ arrival to Rush Creek Lodge in the beginning of October, he has set out to incorporate his passion of local seasonal ingredients into contemporary dishes that fit best for our mountain lodge setting. And needless to say, Lemens has boldly stepped up to the challenge of bringing our small plate section an all new taste as he incorporates his own spin on our lodge menu. Chef Lemens says the whole idea is a small plates, with bold show stopping flavors revolving around key ingredients. Without a doubt, you will be able to say that Chef Lemens artfully executed this here at Rush Creek Lodge.


Embracing his new Californian address, Chef Lemens thought it was only natural to in corporate the classic San Francisco seafood stew, Cioppino, to the small plates menu. Doing the bay area proud with fresh scallops, shrimp and mussels in hearty white wine tomato sauce complete with grilled sourdough is the perfect belly-warming dish on a cold evening.

Baked Goat Cheese

Chef Lemens really wanted more of his dishes to take advantage of the lodge’s wood burning pizza oven, and so came about our mouth watering Baked Goat Cheese. Served in a cast iron pot, fresh from the oven this is truly the perfect balance of acidity with the fresh tomato sauce and creaminess with the melted goat cheese. A dish you will definitely go to bed dreaming about days after you experience dipping freshly baked baguette into.

Roasted Beets

You can really see how the season has really impacted the way Chef Lemens’ put together not only our small plate section, but our menu in its entirety here are Rush Creek Lodge. Our Roasted Beets really highlights the transition to fall and winter with its earthy warm undertones. The perfect vegetarian option that incorporates a contrasting palate of flavors with fig jam, pistachio and goat cheese. It is probably safe to assume you will never look at beets the same way again after indulging in this dish.

Duck Rilette

Giving a new world spin to old world dishes is also a cornerstone of Chef Lemens’ new small plate menu. Our Duck Rillette is his take on the classic French rillettes, that normally feature pork. Taking the savoriness of duck and pairing it with the sweetness of apricot chutney giving you a new way to look at the salty sweet combination that we all crave– especially after a day exploring Yosemite.

Fried Cauliflower

Talking about all the exciting new items on the small plates menu it wouldn’t feel right if Chef Lemens’ Fried Cauliflower wasn’t mentioned. Taking an surprising twist on what you would expect, Chef Lemens’ put an Asian flair incorporating sweet chili sauce and sesame seeds with cauliflower cooked to perfection. This dish has quickly become a favorite, not to be missed feature on Chef Lemens’ menu, so really don’t miss out!


Although one could go on and on for days about all the small plates on Chef Lemens’ diverse menu, we have only outlined just a few of our favorites here. Suppose you’ll have to come up and try the rest for yourself! Don’t forget to share with us your experience and tag us on Facebook and Instagram.