A Warm Welcome at DISH Bistro
Feb 16, 2023
Mammoth Lakes Tourism food writer Lauren MacLeod reviews the fresh and favorite restaurants of the Eastern Sierra – and tells the stories behind them. If you have ideas for local restaurants she should cover, please let us know!
When I arrive at DISH bistro in Mammoth Lakes, California, owner Tina Fortune sets down a tray of spiced tea cookies and a steaming pot of earl grey tea for us to share.
Between sips of tea, she remarks, “To me, the most important thing [about owning a restaurant] is to make sure people feel welcome, and know we are grateful that they take the time to join us.”
It’s easy to feel welcome here. Its intimate space features warm lighting, kind staff, and an ever-changing menu that adjusts to its patrons’ desires – and Tina’s creative flow. She is all about variety and seasonality.
“I don’t know if you could ever find that perfect menu that will satisfy everybody, but at least I’m going to try,” she says.
The Origins of DISH
Not only does the DISH menu frequently change, but it also showcases an array of cultural foods. Tina spent much of her professional life as a chef in Vancouver, which inspired the bistro’s eclectic menu.
“In Canada, the Indian and Chinese communities rule the kitchen and they taught me how to make their food,” she recalls, noting her particular knack for Indian curries.
Before her professional kitchen career, Tina grew up cooking and eating her mother’s French dishes. That’s why you can find Indian curries, dim sum, and beef bourguignon all in one space, all artfully crafted and seasonally sourced.
“All my meat and eggs are organic, free-range and ethically sourced,” says Tina. “I purchase fresh salad greens and berries every day… and the curries, burgers, and salad dressings are handmade.”
Tina welcomes her patrons to share their preferred dishes as well. Sometimes, they even make it on the specials board. In the meantime, she has introduced a fresh round of dishes in the new year.
Coq au vin is a classic French stew in which chicken and vegetables slowly cook in burgundy wine and brandy, creating a luscious sauce. Tina’s version features chicken thighs, pearled onions, and lardons served with mashed potatoes. It’s the ultimate, refined comfort dish.
To complement the sauce, keep the drink pairing classic with a burgundy or bordeaux wine.
This traditional Indian dish showcases pork marinated in a spicy, aromatic curry. Sides of chickpea salad and mango chutney offer a cooling contrast to the curry’s vibrant spice. Sop up every last morsel with warm, fragrant homemade naan.
Tina prefers a refreshing beer to complement the vindaloo – either a local hazy IPA or dry cider. For those patrons avoiding alcohol, choose the mango lassi, a refreshing yogurt-based beverage.
For the Vegetarian
While Tina’s iconic dishes largely showcase meats, she always includes stellar vegetarian dishes. She makes her own vegetarian burger patty – truly the best I’ve ever tasted – complemented by fresh, seasonal vegetables on bread that is not an afterthought. All burgers come with a side salad bursting with fresh berries and a tart vinaigrette.
A Place to Connect
For Tina, the ideal way to enjoy DISH is to come with friends.
“I have a group of ladies that come here for french fries and a bottle of wine. I want this to be a place for connecting over food,” she says.
The future plans for DISH center around building community. Come summertime, look out for longer hours and a dedicated outdoor dining space.
Come to DISH Bistro for fresh food, diverse flavors, and a place to feel at ease.
- Call ahead to get seated, especially on weekends. DISH Bistro is open 3-9 pm Tuesday-Saturday, with happy hour from 3-5 pm. It’s an intimate cafe and you don’t want to miss out.
- Don’t be afraid to taste: Tina wants everyone to find their perfect meal. If you aren’t sure about a menu item or beverage, ask for a sample before committing.
- Embrace variety: DISH’s menu changes seasonally. Enjoy dishes like pork vindaloo while they’re here, and be ready to try something new every visit.
- Ask for the special: From tagine to chicken pot pie, you never know what special Tina will cook up for the night.
- Follow DISH on Instagram: It’s the easiest place to stay up-to-date on menus, specials, and more.