Treat yourself to cozy dinner at Plumpjack’s Cafe
More than anything, the ambience of a good restaurant creates memories that can last a lifetime. PlumpJack Cafe, nestled at the base of Squaw Valley, is such a place. The mood inside is modern and sophisticated. As cold snowflakes fell steadily from the night sky, my fiancee, Greg, and I scurried into PlumpJack’s on a recent night out on the town. Inside, we immediately felt the warmth, either due to the warm, cream hues in the hotel/restaurant lobby, or the crackling fireplace that is the centerpiece of PlumpJack’s bar.
The bar area has an inviting feel. Peppered with well-dressed people enjoying apres ski cocktails and brews, folks happily swap their best-line-of- the-day stories. There’s a bar menu available, and I hear their burgers are delicious, but on this night anyway we decided to try the Cafe.
The hostess stand for PlumpJack Cafe sits just off to the left of the bar area. Food and beverage manager Justin Jelinek met us to take our coats and led us to our table. The dining area has a sophisticated feel. Clean, white linens cover the tables, which are decorated with a single gerber daisy in a straight vase. Canned lighting creates a warm glow.
If it’s available, and you’re seeking to truly relax, I recommend requesting a table set against the wall. A giant, cozy bench seat extends the entire length of the curved wall and is the most comfortable seat I’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting at while eating dinner.
Chef Andy Unzicker places his emphasis on in-season ingredients to create menu items that are as fresh as possible. A lifelong culinary student and graduate of Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts, Unzicker creates each dish with complete balance in mind.
Take for instance the pan seared Qualicum scallops served on a bed of braised leeks with black olive honey and preserved lemon sorbet. The leeks (which are currently in season) give the dish a hearty, savory taste while the lemon sorbet adds a touch of delicate sweetness.
Beets (also in season) currently play a starring role as a first course in a dish called A Tour of Beets. This interesting dish is served with a shot of tangy beet soup, a warmly delicious melt-in-your-mouth Chavrie beet sandwich, and a delicate beet chutney.
The focus is on well-balanced, expertly prepared dishes in the modern California cuisine style with influences from Europe and Asia.
PlumpJack’s Cafe features an extensive wine list, a full bar and creative bartenders. In the brew department there are also some very interesting and unique titles like the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA served in a snifter.
We asked the Chef what his favorite dish is and he recommended the duck. I’d love to pass along that recommendation. We ordered ours cooked medium and the consistency was just right and the meat paired perfectly with the sweet potato hash, braised red cabbage and Irish Oat-Porter Froth.
First course dishes run from $10 for the oak lettuce leaves to $16 for the scallops, while entrees range from $19 for the foraged mushroom risotto to $39 for the Painted Hills Filet Mignon.
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