Twenty-Two Bistro & Bar offers fancy flavors | SierraSun.com

Twenty-Two Bistro & Bar offers fancy flavors

Wendy Lautnerarts & entertainment editor

Wendy Lautner, Tahoe World The Steak and Noodle Salad is a true Cal Asian treat, prepared with mint, peanuts, mango and basil and served with crispy wontons.

The 2008-09 holiday season has been just about as nice weather-wise as one could ask for. Cold storms blanketed the Sierra with a thick layer of fluff and then the sun came out. Weve had winter and spring all in one week, which means theres no reason not to spend these last days of the holiday season out on the slopes. And when you do, beat the bumper-to-bumper apres ski traffic by stopping in for dinner at the Village at Squaw Valley. Twenty-Two is a great new restaurant worth a try. The SpaceOccupying the space that used to be Balboa, Twenty-Two Bistro & Bar is another one of the Village at Squaws latest additions. The setting inside the half-moon shaped space is modern and elegant, with black decor. This place can get packed pretty easily, which makes the mood feel vibrant and hip. Spot lighting gives the dark room a nice feel and the lights over the white marble bar area provide ample light while enjoying an apres-ski beer, cocktail or appetizer. The FoodSpeaking of appetizers, the menu at Twenty-Two is stacked with upscale, flavorful social plates, providing the opportunity to try a variety of unique and tasty combinations without going overboard. Also on the menu youll find a few soups, salads, burgers and sammies, a few entrees, side dishes and sliders (mini burgers served in pairs). Billy McCullough, head chef and owner of Dragonfly, the succesful Cal Asian dining room in Downtown Truckees Commercial Row, brings his signature expertise into Twenty-Two. The only difference being the menu at Twenty-Two has more of a New American flair than Cal Asian. The flavors are delicate and the ingredients taste succulent and fresh, probably due in a big way to McCulloughs Slow Food philosophy, which is committed to buying seasonal and sustainably harvested meats, seafood and produce. Whether youre in the mood for a seared ahi salad, youre craving a juicy burger or a bowl of curry vegetable pot pie; you just need a light snack or youre ready for an entree, the menu at Twenty-Two is decidedly crowd pleaser. The DrinksYoull find PBR, plus a host of microbrews on tap and a one-page, but thorough, wine list featuring many California and a few New Zealand labels. Twenty-Two also offers a full bar, with a number of specialty cocktails and hot drinks (like the hot apple pie concoction) getting a lot of attention. Staff say more hot drinks and specialty cocktails are on the way, so stay tuned. Gotta TryIf you love Cal Asian food (like this reviewer), I highly recommend the Steak and Noodle Salad. They throw in succulent chunks of Kobe Sirloin with mango, avocado, peanuts, basil, toasted coconut and mint. The medley of flavors in your mouth is energizing. My other recommendation is the Potato-Bacon Donut Holes. Described on the menu as goat cheese sprinkles with red-eye gravy, these rich nuggets of goodness are even presented in a brown paper donut bag. The gravy tastes very bacon-grease based and the tastes blend well together without being overwhelming. TidbitMaking a difference: Chef Billy McCullough co-started the Slow Food Lake Tahoe chapter of Slow Food International. The group educates consumers on sustainably harvested, seasonal food choices. Price RangeSoups run about $9 a bowl, salads from $8 to $14, burgers and sammies run $11 to $15, entrees go from $19 for the Beer Can Chicken to $24 for the Kobe Beef short ribs. Social plates range from $5 to $13 and theres about five side dishes that each run $5. Contact By Phone: (530) 584-6170In the Village at Squaw, across from KT-22 Hours: Fridays and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.