The name of this Branson restaurant makes sense when you step inside: It seats only 22 guests, but the tiny rectangular dining room feels bigger thanks to contemporary art of unusual colors and textures on the walls and ceiling. Most of Branson leans toward comfort food, but Table 22 quickly makes diners aware they’re in for something different. Even before the first bite, senses are put on high alert by the graphic-inspired paintings, stark red plastic chairs and Tiffany-blue back wall.
The frequently changing menu lists four courses, all showcasing seasonal ingredients. First courses might include a choice of green salad ($8), prosciutto with melon ($10), freshly made burrata cheese to spread on baguettes ($8) and a remarkable spring onion soup ($9) that arrives at the table in a wide bowl with a mound of pine “soil” (a crunchy, baked mixture of pine nuts, sugar, flour and salt). With Tabasco gel and cilantro, the flavors go way beyond expectation.
The second courses read like a small plates menu: duck egg and ramps ($10), venison pate ($11) and pork belly ($13). Third-course entrees are substantial, with a mild, light halibut; duck; and a filet to please hefty appetites ($22 to $42). The final course delivers a fun attitude in keeping with the decor. Wildflower honey ice cream ($8) arrives topped with salty sweet popcorn, and a dark chocolate cream bombe explores new depths of flavor with olive oil and salt ($9).
Reservations are a must because the seating is so limited. Table 22 is the kind of place to indulge an entire evening, sipping wine, nibbling on surprising dishes and admiring some of the most cutting-edge art in Branson.