Penrose Room (Broadmoor) suggestions?
I was gifted a meal at the Penrose Room this coming weekend, any suggestions on which entrees are 'don't miss' or 'avoid'?
Thinking of the Nilgai Antelope Loin or Filet Mignon or Colorado Lamb Five Ways in that order but willing to be persuaded otherwise ...
Any 'to die for' desserts?
Thanks for any tips ...
1 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO
OK, back from the trip to Colorado and the Penrose Room. Since there aren’t many Penrose posts I thought I’d post some details. I’ll detail what we liked and didn’t like about the place, what we ate, and, since we’ve dined at seven of the 21 Mobil/Forbes 5 star restaurants since May (Addison, Alex, Alinea, Joel Robuchon, Kai, Le Bernardin are the others) I’ll tell you where we thought the Penrose meal fit in with the other six restaurants.
The only thing we didn’t like was the live music, three guys playing a guitar, drums and bass plus a chanteuse gamely belting out soft rock. OK if it had been quieter but it was so loud it made it difficult to talk over the noise at the table. Probably should just play later when people might wish to dance. If you want a quiet, romantic meal this is probably not the place. But this was pretty much our only nit to pick.
OK, good stuff besides the food … free valet parking, free water (don’t laugh, we get charged $10/bottle for water at a couple of these places), excellent service (Garfield was our main waiter), relatively low prices compared to similar quality restaurants (see comments and rankings at the bottom).
To the food … they offer four courses (hot app, cold app, entrée, dessert) plus a cheese option. Three courses for $72 (pick any three), four for $78. Also a seven-course chef’s tasting menu which I would have gone for except that we didn’t want to have too much discrepancy between the number of courses, so my father-in-law (FiL henceforth) had 3 courses and my wife and I had four courses each.
The meal began with an amuse-bouche, three items on a tray consisting of about 2 ounces of a fennel panacotta, 2 ounces of spicy squash soup and a small roll with Gruyère cheese. The fennel and the squash were especially nice. Excellent start. Give this an A (excellent).
For bread they offered six choices (I sampled three), with soft fluted butter (a pet peeve is cold, hard butter!). My wife is gluten-intolerant so passed on the bread but they offered to bring her some gluten-free bread in short order. All the breads were quite nicely done, even the gluten-free.
Cold apps … my wife had a selection of 5 cheeses as her cold app (this is $17 off the cheese menu but Garfield unexpectedly offered to include it as a 4th course for just $6, a nice surprise). Graded it A- (excellent minus).
My cold app was (copying directly off the menu)”Muscovy Duck and Foie Gras Terrine, Black Mission Fig with Pinot Noir with Spicy Rémoulade, Grilled Country Bread”. Not something I would normally select but I like to wander out of my comfort zone for at least one course at restaurants like this, and this was my flyer. The terrine texture was very firm, more like a coldmeat than a pate. I put chunks on the toast and layered the figs, sprouts and Rémoulade on top and it was very tasty, thanks to the figs soaked in Pinot Noir. I’d rate this an A- (would have preferred a bit smoother texture for the terrine).
Hot apps … wife had “Maryland Blue Crab Bisque w/ Black Trumpet Coulis”. This was, in her words, “a spectacular dish” and she gave it an A+.
My FiL and I both had “Main Lobster and Chicken Oyster Ravioli w/ Porcini Mushroom, Beef Consommé, Pearl Vegetables”. Didn’t see the Porcinis and the ravioli was a bit coarse … taste was OK but basically not a very adventuresome or especially flavorful dish for a 5* caliber restaurant. Give this one a generous A- for the lobster.
Entrees … wife ordered “Nilgai Antelope Loin crusted w/ hazelnut – spicy dates gnocchi, braised radicchio, coco nib jus” … meat was very tender and cooked perfectly, with a slight gamey taste not unlike venison. She rated this excellent (A).
FiL and I both ordered “Filet Mignon of beef with celery root risotto – fall green cannelloni with Parmesan, Cipolini onion confit”. For an extra $10 I also had “Foie gras and truffles “Rossini” with sauce Périgourdine”. The meat was excellent and cooked perfectly, “A”. “Celery root risotto” was also nicely done, the kind of non-normal dish you’d hope for in a fine restaurant.
After the entrée we were given a palate cleanser of raspberry gelee with a dab of vanilla whipped cream and a slice of orange confit. Excellent palate cleanser, now we were ready for desserts.
For dessert my wife ordered “Sweet ginger Crème Brulée w/ almond macaroons and citrus marmalade w/ pink peppercorn”. She loved this, grading it A+ for “exceptional”. I was only allowed one nibble of a macaroon and it was wonderful. Wish I had ordered this dish.
FiL ordered “Bitter sweet chocolate gratin – chocolate custard flavored with Anise, coffee crème Anglaise and mint ice cream” and gave it an “A”.
I had “milk chocolate pound cake – chocolate mousse, brown butter popcorn cream and banana rum ice cream”. This was OK but not particularly outstanding for this class restaurant and I’d give it a B+. I think I was hoping for more taste from the ‘banana rum ice cream’.
Most 5* restaurants provide mignardises, which are small bite-sized sweets served at the end of the dessert course, often with coffee, and the Penrose Room gave us three small ones – a small fruit-flavored jelly square and a couple of chocolate truffles. This was a bit light compared to the other restaurants, which typically provided a tray with 4 or 5 sweets (Alex, Addison, Le Bernardin), or, in the case of Joel Robuchon, a dessert trolley with 40-50 choices (last time we ‘sampled’ 19 of these little nuggets).
Finally as a going-away gift they provided each of us with a wrapped coconut marshmallow, which we ate the next morning. Soft, delicate, delicious.
Overall a very fine meal.
How did this restaurant compare to the other Five Stars we’ve dined at the past few months? And how did it compare on costs? Here’s how we’d rate them:
My wife’s ratings (1 & 2 are very close, then 3-7 are pretty close):
1) Joel Robuchon (MGM Las Vegas … Michelin 3* French restaurant)
2) Alinea (Chicago … consensus choice as #1 restaurant in the USA … el Bulli meets The French Laundry)
** Alinea and Robuchon are definitely a notch above the other five in our estimation
3) Penrose Room
4) Addison (Grand del Mar – San Diego … French-influenced American food)
5) Kai (Wild Horse Pass Resort – Arizona … Native American cuisine)
6) Le Bernardin (NYC – Michelin 3* seafood restaurant, the chef worked in Robuchon’s Paris kitchen)
7) Alex (Wynn – Las Vegas, Michelin 2* … French Mediterranean food)
My ratings based on the meals I ate:
2) Alinea (again, these two are a clear notch above the rest)
5) Le Bernardin
6) Penrose Room
How about relative costs? Alinea currently offers only a 21 course tasting menu for $195 but the other six all have four course meal options similar to the Penrose Room (in addition to tasting menus, etc), so here’s a comparison of what a four-course meal would cost at each (five offer set price menus but Kai doesn’t so I’ve included the costs for the four cheapest plates and the four most expensive at Kai):
1) Robuchon - $180 prix fixe
2) Alex - $150 Farmer’s Market
3) Le Bernardin - $112
4) Kai - $108 for my last meal there, but cost varies from $93 - $143 depending on what you choose
5) Addison - $98
6) Penrose Room - $78
So basically the Penrose Room offers excellent food comparable to five of the restaurants we’ve visited since April but at a significant discount. If you’re in the area and enjoy fine dining it’s worth a visit.
1 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO
Five Star Restaurant
5676 S 1900 W, Roy, UT 84067
Very nice report. You clearly are accustomed to dining well, and it's pleasing that the Broadmoor can handle it's own in such rarified company as the restaurants in your rankings. It was a brave step to undergo the renovations and expansion of the B over recent years, in a local market that has languished and business conferences are way down. Reports like yours are helpful, as will be the U.S Women's Open at the east course next year.
Too bad about the loud music. They used to have only a soft piano player.
Nice report Willyum. I enjoyed my one time dining experience at The Penrose Room several years ago. You must go back to work now as you are out about $6,000.00 for the 6 meals listed above. Not many CH's can afford your experience even though we all appreciate a great time.
1 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO
Make a reservation early enough that you can enjoy the sunset view over Pike's Peak from the huge west-facing windows. And have an after dinner drink on the mezzanine near the piano. You will know you are on to something good when you valet your car, and they don't give you a numbered tag, they politely ask your name.