No one goes to Truckee for the food.
But a day of falling down raises up a hearty appetite. And after dropping sideways and forward and backward all over the bunny trails of Royal Gorge, Leon and I could have eaten one of the tiny pinecones we so often found near our teeth in the snow. We couldn’t face another meal at the B&B (see image below) and so set out to scout the culinary environs of nearby Truckee. The Interwebs had promised great things on Donner Pass Road, after all.
Things started well with a lovely life-giving beer at Moody’s, where I became transfixed by the ski-bum-beauty of our bartender, a slim athletic woman who took my stunned adoration as a matter of course. Leon busied himself assessing the comestibles being to delivered to other patrons. “Those,” he hissed, jerking a thumb at the offending basket of fried items being devoured to our right, “are corndogs.”
“We can’t possibly,” he declared, finishing his beer, “eat here.”
Nor could we eat at the Mexican place (“We came all this way for a taco?”); the sushi place (“Sushi in the mountains?”); the California cuisine place (“Punny names are just plain frightening.”); or the Italian place (“Reminds me of that spot in Santa Rosa I hate so much. What’s it called? Oh, right. Yeah, that place. Hate it.”)
Our options were dramatically narrowed as specialty candy—even fudge—makes for a poor evening meal. And then we saw it. It had all of the faux Depression-era marks of a great hipster joint: Raw leather, raw wood, Edison-style lighting, burnished steel, cement floors, the promise of drinks served in mason jars. That much we could see. What we couldn’t yet know was that the Restaurant Trokay was about to provide one of the most delicious and cerebral meals we ever have enjoyed. In Truckee!
Founded the midwinter of 2011, the Trokay is helmed by the husband and wife team of John and Nyna Weatherson, NYC refugees with stellar portfolios. His, among other notables, includes a long stint at Daniel Boulud’s eponymous Restaurant Daniel; hers, from famed Murray’s cheese shop. (That must have been Nyna behind the bar with their baby on her hip the night we were there.)
Their prix fixe menu would be a steal at any price, but at $60 for the food and a paltry $40 addition for matched wines, this prix fixe was simply stellar.
Things began with a cool flute of Cava, the Spanish sparkling wine, and a trio of silver camping pots which held tiny fresh gougéres, tiny fresh buttermilk biscuits, and tiny fresh breadsticks, all accompanied by a tiny pot of garlic jam spiked with a streak of Meyer lemon zest.
And so on. The poetically written menu above gives a sense of the care the Weatherson’s take with their food. The service, the clean modern dining room, and the rest of the staff ably amplify that caring sense.
To hell with skiing, we’re going back to Truckee for the food.