Ristorante Montagna keeps it savory

Wendy Lautner/Sierra Sun The salmon at Ristorante Montagna has a rich, savory flavor.

Nestled at the base of the Squaw Creek chairlift, Ristorante Montagnas setting offers patrons the unique ski-in, ski-out feel. Open for lunch and apres ski seven days a week and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, the inside of the restaurant retains a ski lodge feel. Dramatic black and white photographs of skiers in extreme mountain settings adorn the tan walls. Seating is available at wooden tables throughout the restaurant, along the window and at an elegant wine bar. The space is cozy and bright. The chefs work is on display in an open-style kitchen area. It is a comfortable space, suitable for large groups and families with enough romantic ambience to bring a date as well.

Ristorante Montagna, once known for its tapas-style menu, now offers hearty cuisine with heavy Swiss influences. Popular dishes like the fondue, Wiener Schnitzel on the lunch menu, and traditional Swiss Raclette keep the flavors rich and savory. Executive Chef Jason Friendy designed the menu with the European ski lodge in mind.My goal is to provide a great, memorable experience for our guests, Friendy said. He does so by setting a friendly tone both in the kitchen and on the floor and by incorporating fresh and local ingredients whenever possible into his dishes. Memorable treats include the Red Dog Mac andamp; Cheese on the lunch and dinner appetizer menu, prepared with black truffle oil, which gives the dish a hearty, unforgettable taste. The Laura Chenel salad, also on the starter menu, features Belgian endives served on a bed of poached pears with candied pecans and topped with a cube of rich Laura Chenel goat cheese. The salad has a definitively warm, sweet, wintry flavor. Even traditionally light dishes like the salmon take on a savory coat. On the Montagna menu, Scottish salmon is served with wild mushrooms, gnocchi, buttered leeks and spinach with brandy hazelnut beurre blanc. The Veal Osso Bucco is another decadent treat, the meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender and falls right off the bone. Its served with a fresh herb spatzel and roasted baby winter veggies.

Montagnas wine list includes 100 selections from California, Oregon, Washington, Spain and Italy. Cant decide what to drink with the meal? Either ask wait staff to suggest a pairing or try a flight of reds or whites.

Its a treat to try the traditional Swiss Raclette, cows milk cheese heated until its soft and scraped from the wheel. Served with Gherkin pickles, pearl onions and fingerling potatoes, this rare offering adds to Ristorante Montagnas charm.

On the lunch and apres ski menu, prices range from $14 for the tuna Nicoise to $21 for the Wiener Schnitzel. On the dinner menu, entrees are from $20 for the orchetta pasta to $39 for the Filet Mignon.

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