Moody's Bistro in Truckee (near Squaw Valley and other North Lake Tahoe ski areas) is a find. It's a small to medium sized restaurant which is trying harder than the other restaurants we’ve dined at in this area. The food has spark. Chef Mark Estee is concerned with the ingredients (local, aeasonal and fresh!) and making interesting choices. The charcuterie is housemade. The pork plate shows promise. The cheeses are from Tomales Bay Foods (Cowgirl Creamery/Artisan Cheese).
Note that Jazz is also important at Moody's so check their website for the schedule. I can imagine it would be very loud in the restaurant. It's not world class cuisine but in ski country it's a gem. We'd choose it over the Plumpjack Café at Squaw Valley. (Plumpjack has a better wine list but the staff is trained quite unevenly.)
Oysters on the half shell
Fresh and good: Hama Hama, Royale Miyago and Pearl Point. The mignonette had tiny cubes of diced apple.
Tomato Soup en Croute
The pastry was not cooked all the way through – underside was still quite doughy. The soup was okay but thick and had an element (balsamic?) that made it dark. The mint did nothing for it. We would not order it again.
Crispy Herbed Gnocchi with San Marzano Tomatoes, Basil, Extra virgin Olive Oil
A twist on the traditional. Little round gnocchi on a bed of tomato sauce that screamed fresh. Rounds were crispy on both top and bottom and light and fluffy in the middle. Sauce was wonderful. Elements meshed well. I enjoyed it.
Beautifully made overall. The quail and lavender terrine was the star of the plate. Garnishes were cornishons and slices of a lovely sweet sour and slightly hot pickle. Least favorite of mine was the country paté just because of the seasoning, which wasn’t to my taste.
Pork Platter: Tenderloin, Trotters, Crispy Belly, Ham
This was nicely presented. The pork trotters was atop mashed potatoes. The trotters done in a crispy pancake. The tenderloin was the star – and that seemed wrong here. This dish needs a bit more work and could be great. The idea is wonderful. Served with a brown sauce with peppercorns (which we ordered on the side.) Jack on his "Pork Platter – it was all very good but nothing was excellent – and having four chances, I’d thought they’d score on one or two, but no such luck."
Cheese: Berkswell, Telford and Clisson with
Quince paste, mustard marmalade and honey
Didn’t like the mustard marmalade. Cheeses could have been faced better but they all seemed well stored. A wonderful selection. There is obviously some connection between the chef and Cowgirl Creamery.
Frites with Aioli
Aioli good but not great, and the frites are hand cut but somehow the two don’t marry as well as they should. A tiny bit longer frites would be easier to eat and dip.
Wine we ordered: 2003 Catherine & Pierre Breton Chinon Les Picasses - Excellent! 3
You may notice that we do not give out a lot of praise. Having been to so many high-quality restaurants, it's pretty tough to impress us.
Most of our reviews are based on just one visit. We neither have the time nor the money (or often, the inclination) to visit most restaurants multiple times. So, please keep in mind that a single-visit review is a snapshot - the restaurant may be "on it" that day - or not. If the meal has a calamity involved (foreign objects in the food, wine poured on us, etc.) we try not to let it shade the overall review.
We pay for the food and beverages; restaurants never comp us. We try to be discreet about taking photos so that the staff doesn't notice/get an idea we're going to do a review. We rarely take notes in the restaurant.
Like the rest of our website, we update our restaurant review pages based upon subsequent visits.