Der Fondue Chessel Keystone (CO)
Upon some earlier suggestions, I booked a reservation for Der Fondue Chessel in March. I am taking my girlfriend to Keystone toski and we are both really excited. Although I have done fundue at the melting pot before and have been to Belgium, I am unfamiliar with the Raclette cooking method. I read about it on Wikipedia but obviously it did not speak about Der Fondue Chessel at all. Could someone explain to me what it is like up there?
could we curl up with wine around a fire after our dinner? What is the raclette itself like? are any of the premium meats worth getting (i am thinking about the buffalo loin)? please let me know!
Der Fondue Chessel is informal and offers family-friendly fun, complete with oomph music. There is a huge river rock fireplace at one end of the restaurant, which is a summit cafeteria during the ski day. I really don't know whether you can curl up by the fireplace, or whether they hustle everybody out at a particular time. If you haven't yet done so, you can see what it looks like at http://keystone.snow.com/info/din.exp... and click "See the Menu."
Classic Swiss raclette is made from a special cheese. A wheel is cut and placed next to a hot fire or under an electric heater. The melted part is scraped off and placed on a plate. The Swiss serve it with potatoes, small onions and cornichons -- and of course, good bread. I don't know how Der Fondue Chessel does theirs. Why not call 800-354-4FUN and ask?
Daves_32 - I feel the agony of indecision. If you want melted cheese, noisy merriment and a less pricey dinner, stick w/ the Chessel. If you can spring for a more $s and still want mountaintop dining AND game, go for the Stube. For a lovely, romantic spot in the valley, Ski Tip is hard to beat. One thing you MIGHT do is call the dining res number, tell them you're booked at the Chessel but wonder if you might look in and upgrade on the spot to the Stube if you want to. It's an option.
I have not personally been to Der Fondue Chessel, but my best friend has and was not overly impressed. She said the food was ok, and the atmosphere was fine, but it was way overpriced for what you get. I would recommend trying to switch the reservation over to the Alpenglow Stube. The Stube is probably my favorite restaurant. The food is excellent and the atmosphere is wonderful (romantic, cozy, fuzzy slippers, etc.).
I haven't been to the Ski Tip, but I've heard really good things about it. Another option might be the Keystone Ranch. It's located down on the golf course. Similar to the Alpenglow Stube as far as price and food (which may be even a little better) but IMO the atmosphere isn't quite as nice. They do have a large room with a fire that they take you to sit and wait for your table, and you can return there after your meal for coffee and drinks, if you want.
I have gone to Der Fondue Chessel 3-4 times with my family over the years and we love it! For us it is more the uniqueness of the experience that keeps us coming back than the food itself. The food is very good and very nicely presented, but the casual, blissful atmosphere and the relaxing gondola rides to get to the restaurant itself really make it worth the time and money (of course, you take the gondola to the Stube too). The musicians are great and usually get everyone up and dancing to German and Austrian folk songs and the Funky Chicken, they also take requests. It may be a place better suited to groups of friends and family than a couple looking for a quiet romantic night. The whole meal takes several hours, though you aren't sitting long waiting for food. What takes most of the time is that you cook the meats on the grill yourself.
The menu has changed slightly over the years, they have had different options for the meats and cheese fondues in the past. I usually get the traditional meats and once the lamb chops, never tried the buffalo loin. In the past, they have provided you with four homemade sauces to use with the meats (creamy horseradish, honey mustard, sun-dried tomato and plum sauces) and on the raclette platter is chopped garlic, butter, raclette cheese, cornichons and pearl onions. I like to toast the bread with the butter and garlic and melt the cheese on top (good comfort food!). Also we have had veal sausages that come standard with the meat platter (very good with the plum sauce). I think the best part is dessert with the chocolate fondue and the banana nut pound cake and the cinnamon/sugar covered bananas. They also provide strawberries and basic pound cake with dessert (marshmellows and graham crackers by request).
Overall, I recommend checking it out.