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Jun 25, 2007 05:10 PM

Dish in Edwards, CO

This has been reviewed in other threads but I had such a fantastic meal there I thought I'd give it it's own thread. I made my reservation online and called a week later to confirm because I hadn't heard anything. The chef and co-owner Jenna Johansen answered the phone and apologized profusely that I hadn't heard anything. I also let her know that it was a celebration dinner for my 30th and mom's 55th birthdays. Our reservation was for 6:30 and I'm glad it was that early because the event took 2 hours and 45 minutes but it was thoroughly enjoyable. The service was casual and friendly but very good. For anyone who doesn't know Dish is a small plates restaurant with a daily changing menu based on what is available at it's freshest. A couple of nice touches was a glass of extra silverware on the table. We were given the choice of bottled water or bottled and chilled tap water. Now on to the food.

Amuse Bouche was popcorn with truffle oil and parmesan which was a wonderful way to get the taste buds going. I ordered a cucumber mojito while mom got a pear martini both of which were wonderful on a hot day.

We chose the 7 dish tasting menu ($40 each) but asked specifically for the salmon dish on the menu. The first two dishes came out in tiny glass tea cups. The first was what they call The Original which is shaved serrano ham, a small piece of manchego cheese and a splash of sherry. The second was creamy organic carrot soup with ginger and fresh sage. The bite of the ginger was pleasantly intense. I love ginger so I was delighted.

The third dish was yellow corn fresh off the cob with garlic, scallions and an english pea coulis. The corn was sweet and balanced by the bite of the scallions and garlic. It tasted like summer.

Our fourth dish was grilled eggplant and portabella grilled and served napoleon style with fresh chevre and basil pesto. Something about the texture of eggplant usually turns me off but this was delicious.

Next up was the salmon dish we requested. Bella coola wild king salmon tartare served tossed with a lemon aioli along side diced english cucumber, red onion and avocado. The salmon was perfect and the rich aioli was balanced nicely by the cucumber and onion.

This is about where mom ordered her hibiscus martini while I ordered a salty dog with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. It should be noted that since they are attached to a very good wine shop (named one of America's best new boutique shops in Food & Wine) the wine list is very nice as well but we were in a cocktail type of mood.

Buffalo carpaccio from King Canyon Ranch served with garlic crostini, capers and horseradish dill crema. The delicate flavor of this was delicious and I could have eaten an entire meal of this and the salmon.

Finally, we were treated to two different desserts. The first, a tiramisu, which was a recipe the chef learned while studying in Italy. The server told us she has had italian women request this recipe. It was perfectly moist without being soggy, my normal complaint with tiramisu. Next we were brought a dish not even on that evenings menu. Fresh local cherries, brandied, served over shortbread with a black pepper whipped cream. Oh, what a perfect balance of tart, bite, sweet and crunchy.

I definitely be back frequently when I'm up at the family home in Eagle-Vail. This is a treasure and I do hope that they continue to be successful.

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  1. So glad to hear you liked it, Robyn. I have posted about it before and it is one of our favorites in the valley now. We have been there three times now and every time it has been great.

    1. Great write-up! We're going back in a few days and taking friends who haven't been yet. How would you rank their cocktail-making expertise compared to other places where you've ordered the same drinks (specifically the cuke mojito)? We stuck with vino last time, but you've piqued my curiosity about their bar skills.

      5 Replies
      1. re: rlm

        Well, I haven't had either drink elsewhere prior but my initial feeling was that the cucumber mojito was a bit sweet although I'm not a huge fan of overly sweet drinks. In fact, my standard drink is a dirty martini. The salty dog was perfect a bit of sweetness balanced by the salted rim! I had sips of mom's martinis and both were good, but again a bit fruity and sweet for my taste.

        I'm glad to hear that you've liked it on return trips. I don't have any trips up planned for awhile but next time I'm in the valley I'll be back for sure. I generally spend a lot more time up there in the winter as I coach ski racing at Copper. Oddly, a fellow coach of mine used to work with Jenna at Pappadeaux (she was a corporate chef) in Denver. Small world.

        This trip also included meals at Pepi's and Up the Creek which were both enjoyed just not as much.

          1. re: rlm

            Downstairs from Dish, their sister spot eat!drink! is celebrating their 3rd anniversary today on the patio with Champagne and such from 4 to 7 pm.

            1. re: rlm

              I was just coming by to share the news. We must've gotten the same email.

              I had a delightful lemon panna cotta at Dish on Saturday and my boyfriend loved the P.E.I. mussels he had.

              1. re: RobynS

                Yes, I’m on their e-mail distro list too. We’ve found out about great things from it like the thoughtfully-prepared Tour de France wine case they put together with extensive tasting notes and maps which we really enjoyed (we drank the English ale, bubblies, roses, and whites, but we still have the reds…too hot right now). We’ve also had lovely brunches at eat!drink! and have picked up fabulous cheeses like Hoch Ybrig and Valdeon. And it’s a good place to sip some wine while you wait on your table at Dish if the bar is packed there. I’m still dreaming about one of the items we were brought out on our last trip to Dish: Wild King Salmon Tartare with nuoc cham sauce, carrots, avocado, shaved jalapeno, cucumber, and dabs of sriracha (with a nice artistic touch being that each of our plates had different designs made with the sriracha).

      2. Thought I'd bump this back up as I was on Dish's website last night where I found that they are doing a 6 course tasting menu for $25. I'm crossing my fingers that they are still doing it next weekend when my boyfriend and I are up with another couple.

        7 Replies
        1. re: RobynS

          $25 is their "off-season" pricing. We paid that for the full tasting menu on our first trip in May (but still thought it was an unbelievable deal when it went back to $40). They are celebrating their one-year anniversary this Saturday the 13th.

          1. re: rlm

            I know, but I can't be up there this weekend so I'm just hoping "off-season" will continue through next weekend. As are all my dining partners.

            1. re: RobynS

              I wonder how they decide. We were there on Sept. 17 and 20 and the tasting was $40 (which we didn't do, and we had lots of food for less than $40pp for sure), but $25 for 6 courses would be incredible. What a great restaurant and fantastic people.

              1. re: Debbie W

                That would be prime leaf peaping time in Vail so definitely not off-season. There is a mud season in the spring after the slopes close for skiing but before they open back up for summer hiking/biking.

              2. re: RobynS

                They said it will probably stay at $25 until the 2nd week of November. I would gather that it depends on the amount of traffic they're receiving (so a big snow attracting the ski crowd and thus more business will probably force a change earlier). Sounds like you'll be safe for next weekend though.

                1. re: rlm

                  We were just there the last weekend in Sept and most of the restaurants in the area were just announcing their fall specials. Many establishments start their specials Oct 1- mid Nov. Our hotel restaurant, the Bully Ranch in the Sonnenalp was going to be offering lunch and dinner at prices from 20 years ago. We had great burgers there with local Great Hill blue cheese from Mass. Very tasty!

                  1. re: rlm

                    Thank you! I making a reservation now and you'll make a couple of foodies and their husband/boyfriend very happy.

            2. Well, I was back at Dish again last night and had an incredible meal. I thought I'd copy in my blog post here. Wow, just wow. Here it is:

              I've been asked why I eat there so often and my answer is simple, with the exception of one dish that is always on the menu I've never eaten the same dish twice there. I was greeted warmly by Pollyanna and after informing her I was alone she offered me a coveted seat at the kitchen bar which overlooks the kitchen and allows conversation with the chef throughout the meal. Kevin, their very talented executive sous chef was running the kitchen. I was warmly recognized and greeted by name through out the night by managers and servers. Okay, now on to the important part, the food. I couldn't decide what I wanted so I decided to have the tasting menu (7 courses for $40). What followed was an extravaganza of food that is unequaled in my life and was generously expanded to an astounding 10 courses plus and amouse bouche of Parmesan Truffled Popcorn.

              First Course - The Original, shaved serrano ham, a sliver of manchego, a splash of fino sherry (this is always the first course on their tasting menu.
              Second Course - Creamy Potato Leek Soup topped with white truffle essence.
              Third Course - Spicy Scallop Garden Rolls, rice paper filled with spicy scallop, caesar dressed romaine hearts and prosciutto.
              Fourth Course - Roasted Spaghetti Squash with cilantro pesto and pepitas. This is my new favorite way to have spaghetti squash!
              Fifth Course - Hudson Valley Foie Gras with kumquat marmalade and crisp wafe crackers and sea salt (this was refused by a couple of people in a 20 person party so I benefited!) This was so buttery and the balance with the marmalade was wonderful. I've not had foie gras before and this has hooked me for good. Although I fear it will never be matched in my mind.
              Sixth Course - Wagyu Aspen Steak Tartare with whole grain mustard aioli, poached hen's egg, shaved celery and arugula. My first steak tartare but certainly not the last.
              Seventh Course - Pan Seared Walleye with Wild Blue Crab and Brie Mac and Cheese. The traditional thinking of seafood not matching with cheese is proven completely wrong in this dish!
              Eighth Course - Sweet Potato Gnocchi (another benefit of the large party, they had a bit extra after plating so it came to me. I love gnocchi. I love sweet potatoes.
              Ninth Course - Colorado Lamb Shank, braised with red wine herb risotto, spicy tomato sauce and chevre. Wow. the flavor, the textures, the balance.
              Tenth Course - Chocolate "Martini", a rich chocolate and kahlua sipper, triple chocolate brownie "olives". What I wouldn't give for the recipe for those brownies! Absolutely decadent.

              I honestly can say that after eating the lamb (incredibly tender and flavorful after braising for 4 hours!) and was ready to call mercy if another non-dessert course had been served as I was perfectly satiated if not a bit full. I can't imagine a more delightful way to spend an evening in the Vail Valley. If you ever have a chance to visit I promise you will not be disappointed.

              8 Replies
              1. re: RobynS

                We’re with you on what a great place this is, RobynS. We have no compunction about driving over two hours just to eat there. Our visit at the end of November found that they were still offering the $25 menu (which they apparently extended all the way to Dec. 13th this year). One of our favorite items was not on the printed menu that evening: rock fish with a tomato chipotle cream sauce and Israeli couscous (which had just enough of a kick to tantalize but not overwhelm the taste buds). Even simple-sounding items we’ve had there have been really enjoyable, such as the bread topped with high-quality butter, olive oil, sea salt, and radishes. I had a corn, bacon, and chili soup there in June that rocked my world. Plus they have Bobby-and-Lachlan-from-Frasca’s food-friendly wine Scarpetta on their list now (as well as at drink! downstairs). One of their regulars introduced us to Chef Jenna this summer and she was very friendly and gracious. I love supporting people like Jenna and Pollyanna who are clearly passionate about what they are doing and so committed to providing a high-quality dining experience in a welcoming environment.

                1. re: rlm

                  Jenna is fabulous! I was there a week ago as well and she came out at the end of our meal to check in. I've been to one of her cooking classes so we are getting to know each other. I was slightly disappointed to find out that she wasn't there last night but Kevin proved to be just as warm, gracious and entertaining as Jenna. By the way, Jenna was down in Denver spending an evening in each the kitchens of both Frasca and Fruition. I finally also met Chris, the third in the trio of owners. He was washing dishes last night as their dishwasher was a no show but he came out to say hello to me as did their manager James who was enjoying dinner with friends. Trust me, when I realized I'd be "stuck" in Vail last night I was absolutely ecstatic.

                  1. re: RobynS

                    I really wanted to go to her Flavors of Fall cooking class this year (which was on my birthday, no less), but we had a large dinner planned that evening in Aspen and didn't make it up in the mountains early enough anyway.

                    I wish I would have known she was in the kitchen at my two favorite metro-area places this weekend (although I am still recovering from Frasca's first annual truffles and Barolo blow-out last Monday and do not plan to have anything stronger than water pass my lips until New Year's Eve). :)

                    1. re: rlm

                      Hehe, that's the class a friend and I went to, held only because I emailed asking if they were having one that weekend. I should be able to dig up the recipes if you'd like them.

                      1. re: RobynS

                        I would love the recipes (even though I am quite confident they will turn out nothing like Jenna's). However, I don't believe this forum has PMs and don't really want to post my e-mail permanently in a public forum because I do not worship spam of the processed meat or e-mail chain letter variety...You mentioned a blog earlier. Do you have a link you could post which may either direct me to your e-mail or where you could post the recipes?

                    2. re: RobynS

                      I'm glad I saw this thread. I used to work with Jenna, and she was one of the nicest chefs I've ever worked with. I had heard she was in the Vail Valley but I didn't know where. I'll definitely make plans to check out Dish the next time I'm up there!

                      1. re: Cboz

                        Where did you work with Jenna? I know someone else who used to work with her. And, yes, she is a sweetheart!

                2. Went to "Dish" last night, and really enjoyed it. We did the tasting menu, consisting of 7 different dishes. Each of them was great. It is a short easy drive from Avon or Beaver Creek, and is a good alternative to the expensive places at the Ski resort.

                  Some standout dishes, included a "Marlin Bacon" - which was thinly cut fish, raw, that was very smokey. Another, was the "Churro with Chocolate Dip" (my name - I can't remember their description). Also really enjoyed the Brussel Sprouts (who would have thunk that that is a standout dish). The only item we had, that is available always, is the White Truffle popcorn, which as everyone else says, is positively addictive.

                  If we go again, I think we will not do the tasting menu, but instead, select our own dishes, as we didn't get to try the exact dishes we prefer (although, I would say, that the items the chef chose for us were all wonderful). In particular, I would have liked to try the White Truffle Pasta dish on the menu that day.

                  Bottom line, this is a great place, you could really tell their love for great ingredients, and love of food. I also thought this was a great value, as our dinner came in close to $100 for the 2 of us (and I think our bill, was a bit on the higher side, of average).

                  One last comment, about the wine. They have some unusual, and wonderful wines. In particular, they had bottles of Turley, which is wonderful, and difficult to find (which is a testament to the wine worthiness of this place). Also tried the owners sparkling wine (I think it was labeled - Muse), which was pretty good.

                  This place is a gem. I only wished we lived closer, so we could go there more often.