A new fine-dining spot pairs a great wine list with a changing menu of fresh gourmet dishes. And there’s not a speck of kitsch in sight.
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A wild salmon filet served over fava beans with thinly sliced radishes and celery.
Table 22 is tucked away in a small space on Branson’s Main Street, right next to Palate Fine Wine & Provisions (which has the same owner). When you step inside, you feel like you’ve stepped out of Branson. The décor is bright and contemporary—lots of white, lots of modern art, lots of sleekness. On the day we visited, bright sunlight was streaming in through the front windows, and we watched Branson visitors march up and down Main Street while we sipped our wine. Wine is the star here. There’s an extensive menu available by the glass, quarto or bottle, but it isn’t intimidating to wine novices. My husband and I love wine, but we know little about it. That was okay. Our server explained the differences in taste and origin to us and walked us through a few glasses of wine during our visit. We found it extremely helpful.
The small menu changes regularly and offers contemporary gourmet items prepared with an eye for what’s best that season. Our server took the time to explain the origins of the menu items, many of which were either locally sourced items, or specialty foods brought in from artisanal producers around the country or the world.
We started with the burrata appetizer ($12). Burrata is a hand-pulled artisanal cheese that’s a lot like fresh mozzarella. But it’s so much creamier. You can almost spread it on the crusty baguette slices it’s served with. Crunchy French-style green beans, sweet grape tomatoes and a drizzling of olive oil are all that come on the plate with the dumpling-sized ball of cheese, but really it needs little accompaniment. Its flavor is mild, enhancing the tomatoes and practically melting in your mouth. It. Was. Delicious.
For his entrée, Eli had the trofie con bolognese ($16). The dish’s hand-rolled pasta (from Italy) had the perfect texture. The meaty tomato sauce on top looked average at first glance, but it was full of loads of sweet-acidic fresh tomato flavor. It was a simple pasta, taken to a very sophisticated level.
I ordered the special of the day, a 6-ounce wild salmon filet served over pureed fava beans with thinly sliced radishes and celery. The fava beans tasted like springtime, and had the texture of creamy mashed potatoes. That texture was complemented perfectly by the crispy crunch of the radishes and celery. I paired my entrée with an indulgently fizzy little fresh-peach bellini.
Dessert, for us, was the star of an already quite impressive show. We almost didn’t order dessert, but a last-second curiosity-driven impulse had us asking for the panna cotta topped with aged balsamic ($6). I love desserts that stray from being super-sugary, but I hadn’t had vinegar (a little sweet from years of aging, but still just straight vinegar) as the headlining flavor in a dessert. Turns out, it’s incredible. The silky cooked cream is the perfect base for the vinegar, which adds a complex depth of flavor: A little sweet, a little tangy, a little fruity, a little rich. It was one of the best desserts I’ve eaten.
I saw that the lunch menu (at the time we visited, anyway) had a ham and butter baguette sandwich. Yum! That alone made me want to go back for lunch sometime. That, and the fact that the lunch menu has several items around $10.