edible notables

THE PERFECT PAIRING
Petra highlights farm-to-table dining.

Written by Le‘a Gleason
Photo by Wade Snider

On a sunny winter afternoon in Northstar California’s shopping village, just past opening time at 2 p.m., Petra Restaurant & Wine Bar already is full of customers. Owners Chris and Kelsey Barkman greet them with a smile, explaining that there’s great food and a ton of distinctive wines here to try. 

“One of the beauties of wine is that it connects and brings people together,” Chris says. “It really generates community conversation, and that’s what we aim to be in all our businesses — a gathering place for the community.”

As customers ask questions about how to select a bottle, the owners’ rich knowledge is evident. Chris grew up around wine, and his father owned a wine shop in Palm Desert in the ’80s. As he began developing an affinity for wine’s extraordinary qualities, it helped him also grow a love of geography. 

The Barkmans’ North Lake Tahoe-area wine shops offer hundreds of bottles of sustainable, organic, or biodynamically farmed wines from around the world. Petra, which also has a full menu of food, is the big sister to Uncorked, which is located in Squaw Valley, Tahoe City, and Truckee. 

Mountain-casual dining

At Petra, you’ll find a mountain-casual atmosphere. An open floor plan and subtle furnishings with clean lines make the lounge-like dining room a good fit for any clientele, from a suit-wearing professional entertaining clients at dinner to a skier right off the slopes.

Chris describes Petra’s menu, which was designed by him and chef Matt Snyder, as “Mediterranean-slash-California cuisine that’s farm to table,” with seasonal ingredients from all local vendors. 

Among the current favorites on the winter menu are the San Marzano (DOP) tomato soup and fontina grilled cheese, a crowd pleaser, and Chris’ favorite: the slow-braised pork belly sliders on King’s Hawaiian rolls with pickled slaw. With dishes ranging from small shareables to substantially sized entrées, there’s something for every appetite. 

“Sometimes people just want a small bite and a glass of wine, and sometimes people want two or three courses, so it’s moldable,” Chris says. “You can come in and go through the whole menu or just have one thing.” 

Customized pairings

Stopping by for a take-home meal and a great bottle of wine to pair with it (or give as a gift) is an option, too. Chris or his knowledgeable staff will talk with guests to determine the right wine for the occasion and the person’s taste. 

“I taste every bottle that comes in here,” Chris says. “My objective is to make sure I find something that they’re really going to enjoy. Taking it to the next level, based on those descriptions, I try to make a recommendation on something they’ve never had because it opens their perspective. Often they’re like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know what that was or where it was from, and I loved it.’”

Le‘a Gleason is a North Lake Tahoe-based writer and fan of the farm-to-table movement and the restaurants that support it. 

Petra Restaurant & Wine Bar at Northstar
3001 N. Village Drive, Ste. 3112, Truckee
530-562-0600 • Uncorkedtahoe.com
Check website for spring hours, beginning in March

 

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A crowd favorite, the pork belly sliders at Petra in the Northstar California shopping village pair well with both white and red wine

 

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Owners Kelsey and Chris Barkman are not only passionate about pouring wine at their Truckee and Lake Tahoe establishments, but they're committed to collecting sustainably produced and farmed wines that are uncommon 

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