Simone Appetit | Gettin’ in the Moody’s
I don’t need a good snow storm as an excuse to head to Moody’s Bistro, Bar & Beats, located in the lobby of the historic Truckee Hotel, but I have to admit I move a little faster in that direction the minute there is a hint of a flurry.
There is something so absolutely cozy and perfect about this Zagat-rated restaurant on a winter day. The interior is warm in colors and lighting, the ceilings gracefully high, the wood is gleaming — it is all old-world charm without a hint of cheesiness. A class act for sure, but very relaxed elegance suited for my Sierra wardrobe.
In fact, if I was so inclined, I could probably snowmobile right up to one of Moody’s outdoor tables/fire pits they have blazing this time of year — but sitting astride one of those beasts is not very Simone Appetit.
I like to make my entrance through the heavy front door, wave to the friendly people at the curvy bar on the right, snuggle into my favorite booth and hear what daily specials Chef Will has added to the winter menu.
You gotta’ love Moody’s executive chef Will Burns. Having studied French cuisine at culinary school in New York and then sharpening his chef knife at the Ritz-Carlton, Burns’ passion for creating masterful blends of ingredients and flavors is a foodie experience to remember — and repeat.
I’ve been to Moody’s many times and always try something different. Lamb shanks? Check. Pork Chop? Check. Fresh pasta? Check. I try to order things I know I won’t even try to make at home. In fact, usually when I find myself tempted to make a Moody’s dish, I just make reservations.
This last visit I had the Arctic Char which is a cold water fish, kind of a cross between a salmon and the trout. Superb. Served with a sunchoke puree, fava beans, salsify, sunset beans, Romanesco and a horseradish salsa verde. Very nice. Chef Will was kind enough to share the recipe with me. Yikes! Good thing I have Moody’s on speed dial…
3 six-ounce fillets of Arctic char
15 peeled sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes and available at New Moon)
2 shallots, chopped
1/4 cup (about) half & half to cover
• Slowly simmer sunchokes and shallots in half & half until soft (kind of like potatoes for mash potatoes) Don’t worry about over-cooking. When done blend into a puree and season with salt.
1 cup beans
1 stalk celery,
1 clove garlic,
1 cup red wine
salt to taste
fresh herbs (I used thyme, oregano, parsley)
• Sauté the mire poix (that’s fine dining for onions, celery, carrots and garlic) together until light brown add in beans stir and deglaze with the red wine. Once wine is half-way reduced add water to cover and add fresh herbs. Slowly simmer for about one hour. When beans are cooked season them with a little salt.
Clean florets of Romanesco as you would broccoli
Blanch the florets in salted boiling water for 45 — 90 seconds and place in ice bath to chill. Set aside.
Salsify (root vegetable):
Peel salsify and place in lemon water (so it does not discolor)
Also blanch, set aside
Horseradish salsa verde:
Evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
Finely chop all together and set aside, ready to go. Sear the fish in olive oil in a hot pan, skin side down.
Combine the above other ingredients together in a separate pan, deglaze with a little white wine add butter, seasoning and fava leaves. Serve prettily with all your “set asides.”
Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your recipes, kitchen “must-haves” and food news at firstname.lastname@example.org.