The last place I would have expected to have an unusually fine dining experience would have been Helena, Montana, population 30,000. I was pleasantly surprised when, while visiting a friend in Helena, we went to a restaurant called Taste of the City, owned by its chef, Jeremy Mather. We knew it might be a tad different when arriving at dusk we had to run the deer from the parking lot in order to park. As we were going in, Jeremy was coming out. He told us that his server’s grandfather had died and since business was slow, he had decided to close early. When he saw us, a party of four, he said that if we didn’t mind being served by the chef, to come in. We did and proceeded to have a delightful meal, great wine and an excellent dessert, all cooked and served by the owner. That evening alone would have been worth it, but it only got better. My friend and I were to fly fish for wild rainbow trout the next morning. We asked if he would consider cooking our catch if we were to come back the next evening. His only stipulation was that we would have to let him know if we were coming back for sure so that he could have time to shop for the right compliments to go with our fresh fish.
My friend and I had a great day on the Missouri River catching and mostly releasing some of the strongest fish for their size we had ever encountered. We were allowed to keep just one each which due to their size, turned out to be a generous serving for four. I had eaten eastern rainbow trout numerous times but this was my first experience with the salmon colored meat of the western trout. It was amazing, cooked to perfection with just the right side dishes and compliments personally picked by Jeremy the chef for our special evening.
It was hard to believe that we had found such a skilled and customer friendly chef and restaurant in Helena, Montana. It became quite clear when we learned that Jeremy had once worked in Westport, Connecticut as the chef in a restaurant called the Dressing Room, owned by none other than Paul Newman.