Moody’s Bistro & Bar is a high end Mountain comfort food restaurant in downtown Truckee. Local, organic, seasonal focus or as they tell it – Moody’s food philosophy is “fresh, local, seasonal and simple”. Chef de Cuisine is Guy Frenette. The Restaurant opened in 2006 and is owned by the same folks who used own the now closed Baxter’s restaurant in Northstar at Tahoe. Moody’s has live music occasionally. Our last visit was during a trip to the mountains in 2017.
Decor, Vibe – Moody’s is housed in an old Truckee Hotel building with Mountain decor, lots of dark wood, bar in front with booths and attached lounge area, main dining room, old pictures, pots hanging by the kitchen. Most folks coming up to ski/board, and some locals, mostly in their 30’s to 50’s. Pretty packed. They recently adjusted the room to make it more casual.
Moody’s Restaurant Menu (Click to zoom into any picture)
You can each cheaply at Moody’s with a burger or pizza, or you can live it up. We believe the time to save money is at home!
Menu change all the time. Starters, House made Charcuterie and Offal, Soups, Salads, Pasta, Meaty entrees, and a single Vegetarian entree. They have happy hour at the bar with half off wine and well drink specials before 6:30 PM. On our visit at the end of 2012, we noticed that they added a pizza oven. In 2017 we noticed the menu changed more radically, no pork chop or tomato soup! The menu on their website is not current.
Signature dishes – Pork Chop, Hanger Steak, Tomato soup
The homemade Warm bread with a good crispy crust is stellar.
Mojito ($8) was tall, strong, and fairly well made.
Hot Buttered Rum ($8) Kraken Spiced rum, house made compound butter, hot water, nutmeg was perfect on this freezing winters night.
Ahi Poke ($15) Wonton Crisp was a very good dish but was far too spicy and did not even mention that fact. Ask the server before ordering, in 2017 we told them to keep the heat down and it was fine.
Oxtail Poutine ($12) was a new addition. Fresh curd, Green onions, and Bordelaise. Fun Canadian dish with fries, curds, some fatty meat, and gravy to drown it in. Pretty small portion, but worthy.
Pork Belly, Pomegranate glaze, Apples and Frisee ($11) was highly recommended, balanced between fruit and richness, and justified its fatty content.
Crab Toast ($14) dungeness crab / ciabbatta / butter / lemon is also a signature appetizer. This stellar starter comes with a huge mound of fresh crab with a bit of lemon zest on top of a thick toasted. Simple and effective. On our last visit it was on the vinegary side.
F.E.I Mussels with house Chorizo, White Wine, Saffron and grilled Toast ($13) had a fairly light broth and a moderate amount of mussels. Still a reasonable dish that requires lots of extra bread to sop up the broth.
Tomato Soup en Croute tomato / red wine / mint ($9) is also a long time signature dish. A thin and buttery puff pastry covers some very fresh tomato soup. The soup is not creamy, allowing the rich shell to balance out this dish. Great for vegetarians.
Truffle & Parmesan Fries ($8) in a cool mini fryer tray, were top notch. Luxurious truffle smell along with thinly cut, crispy fries intermixed with arugula.
Verjus Poached Pear Salad ($13) Hazelnuts, Pt Reyes Blue Cheese, Chicory and pomegranate was a refreshing salad featuring a contrast between the sweet pears and bitter chicory, along with some crunchy nuts. Well done and worth ordering.
Beet Salad ($12) with red beats, strawberries, lite dressing was simple, very nice and refreshing.
Heirloom Tomato Cart ($12) was huge salad full of vivid colors. Four different types of fresh heirlooms, cut up in large chunks and a touch of salt on top.
Ahi four ways ($16) comes with seared sesame crusted lemon sauce, sashimi soy sauce with wasabi, tartare with a tartar sauce ala 1000 island, and seaweed wrap and fried. Stellar dish with fresh fish. A signature dish and must get. We actually didn’t follow the four styles precisely and mixed and matched to better effect. The soy glaze was a bit too salty, so we swapped it out.
Hedgehog Mushrooms organic polenta / shaw family farm sunny side egg ($13) had several very fresh mushrooms sandwiched between some creamy polenta and a perfectly cooked egg. Another excellent starter, also good for vegetarians.
Smoked Beef Short Rib ($28) Porcini mushrooms, red wine, mascarpone and pickled vegetable salad did not sound like a pasta dish in 2017, but combined some house made eggless pasta with some tender short rib chunks and sauce. Spot on, be sure to use bread to clean your plate!
Fusili pasta with duck ($18) had lots of tender meat and good pasta. We had to ask for more pasta because the amount of duck was so great.
Vignetto pasta ($18) braised beef, brussel sprouts, garlic, onion, lemon, Parmesan cheese was another hearty great sized pasta with lots of tender beef chunks. This semolina pasta was made without eggs and proved to be far better than most pastas we’ve had in San Francisco.
Strozzapreti ($24) Bison Short Rib, Wild Mushrooms, Red Wine & Crème Fraîche with a pickled House Salad was another great pasta. Very al dente, thick noodles, tons of meat.
Spaghetti ($18) Four huge, fluffy but not dense meatballs. Balanced sauce and solid tender noodles.
Big ass Salmon Creek pork chop ($34) with Grits, Tasso, Brussels Sprouts & Apple Cranberry Marmalade was one huge piece of delectable pork. It costs as much as a portion half the size in San Francisco! High-quality pork that was especially juicy once you past the surface cuts. This dish was extremely hard to cut, could have used a Santoku! A must for fellow pork fans.
Coffee raised Bison Short Ribs Organic Spoon Spinach, Brown Butter mashed Potatoes, Carrots and crispy Onions ($30) is another signature dish. Very tender, large portion, silky texture although it could use more flavor.
Filet Mignon Special ($38) is one of the most expensive things on the menu on our last visit. Tender, nice portion size, slightly overcooked as we asked for medium rare.
Wild Striped Bass ($32) Radish, Cipolini Onions, crispy Potatoes, Chicory and Citrus Beurre Blano was recommend and was very good. Cooked just right, flaky and flavorful.
Sea Bass Special ($32) was cooked perfectly but a smaller portion. Be sure to ask what the fresh fish is. This chef knows how to cook fish.
Elk Rack ($47) was a special in 2017. Its great they keep some game on the menu. A rare rack of lamb style dish cooked to a medium rare. A nice dish for this country town.
Pan roasted Antelope ($32) Came cooked Medium rare and was excellent. Great flavors, not gamey, big portion size, tender brussels sprouts. It needs more starch! Are they catering to Atkins diets here? We used up a ton of bread with this. A perfect type of dish for this Sierra Nevada locale.
Grimaud Farms Muscovy Duck Breast and Confit of Leg ($35) with parsnip puree, black trumpet mushroom, pink lady apple and huckleberry sauce was a perfect medium rare. Cooked just right with a perfect sweetish accompaniment. In 2017 the pan roasted duck breast was cooked with yam brussel hash, chevre gribache, cara cara organge, and blackberry jus. Still a huge portioned cooked to perfect level of doneness.
Grilled Asparagus meyer lemon / evoo ($8) was simple, fresh, and cooked in a healthy manner.
House made Ice Cream ($9) had 2 large scoops along with biscotti. Keep some room for dessert..
Fruit Crisp ($8) was HUGE and made with cranberries and apples. A loose crumble topped it off along with some quality vanilla ice cream. Not very buttery unlike other places. Food portion sizes are so generous, that is hard to order dessert. On our last visit, it changed to include a custard.
Pumpkin cheesecake ($7) was a very well done dessert. Rich cake with subtle pumpkin flavor.
Kingston’s brownie ($7) was recommended but simply wasn’t very memorable.
Pizza ($13) Fresh Mozzarella, Basil and San Marzano Tomato Sauce looked wonderful and had a crisp texture. A bit on the cold side though. Probably was cooked and sitting around for other items to finish up.
Moody’s Bistro & Lounge had friendly and competent service with servers continuously patrolling the restaurant. The service hiccuped on our last visit. Prices were on the high side, typical for high end places in a touristy locale, but portion sizes and food quality was extremely high. You can dip your toes by trying drinks and lower cost happy hour appetizers. With PlumpJack cafe, Moody’s, and Manzanita, North Lake Tahoe now has some excellent restaurants that we look forward to. You can stick around for the live entertainment at the bar.
Good wine list with high markup. Wine by the glasses from $8, $20 corkage. Happy hour 7 days a week 2:30-5:30.