Gold Country and its corporately owned sister, Red Lion, stand at the east side of Elko as twin titans of gambling strength. But of the two, the Gold Country’s JR’s Bar & Grille is far better in terms of service and food. Red Lion is more focused in gambling, while JR’s tries to have equal emphasis of both.
JR’s features daily specials which can range from Salisbury steak to open face sandwiches or gourmet salads. One item that’s a must is a bowl of the restaurant’s signature buffalo chili. Top it off with onions and cheese and it’s a feast in itself. But there’s more than just chili at JR’s.
Their burgers are among the best in town; certainly their mushroom and garlic burger is second to none. Instead of sautéing the mushrooms in minced garlic, whole caramelized cloves of garlic are placed on the burger alongside freshly sliced and fried mushrooms. Another surefire appetite suppressor is the Philly cheese steak. Granted, it’s not as good as what you’d get in Philly, but it’s a far cry better than what you’d get at some roadside dive. The meat’s tender, veggies cooked appropriately. The roll is toasted and the dipping juice has just the right amount of kick.
The fish and chips are well-prepared and come with hefty helpings. The miner’s smothered chicken breasts are another dish that’s deserving of a first try and is liable to keep you coming back for more.
For appetizers, safe bets are the Thai cool Buffalo wings or the asiago cheese bread. The Thai cool wings are definitely an experience and are great with either teriyaki or ranch on the side. The asiago cheese bread is simply a cheese-lover’s dream come true. By themselves or with marinara – they’re the way to go.
Ethnic foods can sometimes be a real gamble at non-specialty restaurants, especially casino restaurants where “cheap” is a word used by management for cost control; not always one the customer can use to describe their bill. Still, JR’s fettuccini and lasagna are surprisingly good, and they come in hefty portions.
And if you’re staying at one of the rooms in Gold Country, or simply have time to kill, getting one of JR’s freshly baked pizzas is a worthwhile treat. While it’s not tops in terms of crispy crust (it’s of a chewy variety), their combinations of toppings and gooey mozzarella make their pizzas a tasty venture. You can always call ahead as well if you don’t want to wait.
To be honest, the service has been fair to good, being mostly good. The wait for food is minimal and drinks are almost always forthcoming, if not routine from the wait staff. And for those with a sweet tooth, there are fresh cakes and pies to try for dessert – that is if you have room. And if you don’t want dessert right away, you can always grab some Krispy Kream doughnuts for later.