State & Lemp
By Dylan Haas
Photo by Pete Grady
If you are looking for the finest, most intimate dining experience in the Treasure Valley, look no further than the triangular island-block at the corner of State and Lemp in Boise’s North End. Aptly named, State & Lemp is the brainchild of Remi McManus and Jay Henry, a pair of entrepreneurial restaurateurs with years of fine-dining experience between them. The two have been friends and business associates for years, beginning back when Remi was General Manager of a local fine-dining establishment and brought Jay on to serve as general manager of an offshoot venture. The two establishments eventually closed, but Jay and Remi remained friends. Over the ensuing years they collaborated on “off the grid” dining events where Jay would provide unique culinary experiences for private parties, tailoring menus to the specific desires of the clientele, relying as much as possible upon ingredients that could be found in regional farms and ranches. Based upon the success of these unique, intimate dining experiences Jay and Remi realized that they could provide a similar service in a single location, thus the idea for State & Lemp was born.
The concept is simple: an intimate dining experience that is as much about the environment and communal experience as it is the quality of each course. The location seats no more than 22 people at one time. Patrons arrive roughly ten to fifteen minutes before serving begins. They are greeted with a glass of champagne and are invited to mingle amongst one another taking a moment to appreciate the gallery of artwork and sculptures that adorn the walls and lobby area, all of which are provided by local artists. State & Lemp is a prix fixe dining experience; the menu is fixed so patrons are free to enjoy the dining experience collectively. Each seating consists of a five course meal each of which is paired with an appropriate wine designed to complement the flavor and motif.
Just as in their earlier, off the grid, “guerilla” dining experiments, Jay and Remi focus on using local and regional vendors for all of their ingredients and accoutrements throughout the dining experience. This is a particularly exciting challenge as they ensure the State & Lemp menu changes every three weeks; Jay and head chef Chris Komori are literally dreaming up and experimenting with new entrée ideas continuously so that just as one menu becomes steady they are already deep in the development of the next phase.
State & Lemp do regular seatings Wednesday thru Saturday, with two seatings on Friday and Saturday nights; typical service takes roughly two and a half hours per seating. With the fixed menu patrons should expect this full intimate dining experience to run them just over $100 per head, after the five course meal and accompanying wine services, a relative bargain considering that an evening spent at State & Lemp is more than just a night out at a fancy restaurant; it is an intimate dining experience.
State & Lemp is located at 2870 W State St, Boise ID, 83702. They have regular dining hours Wednesday through Saturday, with private seatings available other nights. (208) 429-6735