OUTSTANDING DINNER AT GROUSE MOUNTAIN GRILL -- BEAVER CREEK, CO.
Grouse Mountain Grill, in the Pines Lodge, is getting better. I have eaten there many, many times and have always enjoyed it, but last night was especially enjoyable. We asked for a table in the bar, where Tony Gulizia performs jazz classics most nights.
The Grill's special bread service includes parmesan crisps, focaccio and sourdough with spreads of butter, sweet red onion marmalade and hummus. Service is attentive but not intrusive. You can take as much time as you like listening to Tony before ordering (we made the evening a two and a half hour affair) or ask for expedited service.
My wife started with Crispy Sweet Corn, Cheese & Bacon Fritters with sauteed Chanterelle mushrooms and thyme butter sauce -- real comfort food and simply delicious. My appetizer was a dish I nearly always order -- Warm Lobster & Mascarpone with baby red lettuce and tomato vinaigrette. This night it was over-the-top good. Moist, rich and tasty!
My wife's Pan Seared Scallops with roasted carrott and ricotta raviolis, sauteed carrot, fennel and saffron cream sauce was excellent, but with the richness of the scallops and the raviolis, four huge scallops was simply too much for my wife to eat. Fortunately she had someone with her to take up the slack. I had one of the signature dishes which I have had often -- Pretzel Crusted Pork Chops with house-made chorizo, crispy cauliflower, spinach spatzle and orange mustard sauce. The chops were thick and juicy and perfectly cooked.
For dessert we shared a rich chocolate cake with raspberries, whipped cream and chocolate ice cream. It was also great. All the food was great, the service top notch and the entertainment was, as it always is, just wonderful. If you are in the Beaver Creek - Vail area, don't miss this very special restaurant.
Interesting. I love them all. There are definite differences, though. Actually, I don't consider Golden Eagle to be in the same category as the other two. It is much less expensive and much more casual, although jeans and a decent shirt are acceptable at any of them and I have even seen shorts in all of them. I particularly love Golden Eagle for lunch. Dinner there is good, but not on the same level as Splendido and Grouse Mountain Grill. Splendido is, in my opinion, the best looking room in the valley and the table settings as you enter really get your attention. The service at Splendido is more formal than GMG, but not stuffy. GMG has, to me, a much warmer atmosphere and is a much more comfortable place to spend a long evening. I would give Splendido a slight edge as far as the food is concerned. Chef David Walford is demanding and present most of the time and it shows. Presentations are beautiful and the attention to detail in the food reflects the overall attention to detail. Prices are slightly higher at Splendido. If price were no object, I would probably choose Splendido first, then Grouse Mountain Grill, and then Golden Eagle. Oddly enough, or maybe not, the prices are in the same order.
Edit: Forgot about the wine. Since I don't drink alcohol I forget to address this very important part of dining to many folks. Golden Eagle's wine list is very limited. Both the other two have massive wine lists and both are recognized by Wine Spectator with the Award of Excellence or Best of Award of Excellence. Prices are not a bargain.