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Mountain Standard is Open in Vail on Dec. 19, 2012

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We felt like standing and applauding the kitchen staff!

We ate dinner at Mountain Standard on its second night in business (we got confused as to its opening date). We had a wonderful meal and we highly recommend it. Kevin and Matt, the owners of Sweet Basil are, again, contributing to our Vail dining pleasure. The space is nicely and minimalisticly designed in order to highlight the open kitchen (which, contrary to other reports, is evidently still in style). The chairs at the tables are uncomfortably hard so we chose to sit at a booth. It was much more cushiony but, for Audre, it was too low and she would have liked a pillow--it was too deep for her. There was no music but a noisy buzz from the other guests, including a table of 8 with a loud baby. We were warmly greeted by Lauren Boudreaux and brought our requested hot water in mugs by our Honduran bus-man. He also brought us ficelle (and nicely softened butter) made by Zinos kitchen which was very good (we also like the baguette made at Zinos). We could see the 8 cooks, including Brian (Bobby) Brouillard, on one side of the kitchen island and Paul Anders supervising on the other side. It was quite a good show, actually.

We decided to share 3 starters and one side. It was a very good decision. Each dish was small and gave us a glimpse at the capabilities of the kitchen (without stuffing us). We each had a glass of the 2010 Catena Malbec ($10 x 2) and it was good.

We started with the Roasted Bone Marrow with Oxtail Marmalade, Country Bread, Parsley Salad ($12). This dish was probably our favorite because the bone marrow was ample but also because the oxtail marmalade was a perfect accompaniment. The parsley salad, with julienned lemon peel, was very good as was the Dijon mustard. The bread was a little burnt but good. We also ordered a side of Campfire root vegetables ($8) that were good and included beets but, unfortunately, the onion in the dish was surprisingly tasteless.

There was a long hiatus between our first and second starters. Our server, Patrick, was hopping about and didn’t explain, until much later when we asked, that there was some confusion in our order (3 starters for one table needed explanation which Patrick failed to give, evidently). Actually, we noticed a lot of frenzy in the restaurant staff but it is a bistro after all. Fortunately the tables were not (bistro-like) on top of each other. We really liked the Steelite plates--a very good choice.

Our second starter was the Whiskey Braised Pork Belly, soy molasses, jalapeño, grilled pineapple and cashew ($14). The pork belly was outstanding and the pineapple’s sweetness was a nice contrast to the richness of the pork belly. The jalapeño added to the dish too. It was yummy.

Our third starter was the Molasses Rubbed Quail with Escarole, Blackberry Agrodolce, Marcona Almonds ($15). The quail was perfectly cooked and the blackberry agrodolce was delicious. Again the sweet contrasted nicely with the quail.

For dessert we ordered Bob’s Bread Pudding with Plumped Cherries and Bourbon Ice Cream ($8) and that disappointed us. The ice cream tasted like vanilla and the bread pudding was more like bread and not enough like pudding. With that we ordered the Spiced Cider with Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and Apple Cider and Cinnamon ($10). There was cream on the top, no cinnamon and very little spice. It was kind of like water, actually. So that wasn’t a success.

Overall the meal was outstanding however and, with the attention we got from Lauren and Matt, it was also fun.

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  1. Six of us had lunch there today for the first time and it was a hit. We started with orders for the table of "Baked Potato" Fries and Double Dipped Onion Rings. The onion rings were excellent, but just onion rings. The fries were interesting: topped with sour cream powder, bacon and chives. Also excellent.

    Starters included the soup of the day (which was good but I can't recall what it was) and Caesar salads.

    Mains were a Cuban pulled pork sandwich, a burger, griled salmon, sauteed Sturgeon and king crab legs off the raw bar. Everyone was pleased with their choices. We were too sated for dessert.

    While it's the progeny of Sweet Basil, it is very different in many
    ways. More casual, louder, more choices. Service was excellent; our server really knew his stuff and was happy to spend quite a bit of time with us explaining the dishes. Food, service and ambience were excellent. I think it's gonna make it.

    1. So happy that ddavis liked Mountain Standard. Friends of ours (aledm) went on Christmas and wrote this to us:

      "So we went tonight for dinner with another family, not only because you made a recommendation, but because it's new. The artichoke, Caesar salad, soup, and tuna were good, the bone marrow was nonexistent, onion rings good, but baked potato fries were inedible. The main courses were less consistent; chicken was just alright, stone crab smelled of ammonia, steak was rancid, dinner was poor. It is unlikely that we would ever go back.

      Our experience was quite different from yours, and we did expect much more. Do go to Lenora in the Sebastian, magnificent food."

      We were riding on a ski lift today and a ski patrolman said that he and his wife ate at Mountain Standard and had a poor meal. He didn't like his steak and his wife's shrimp were burnt on the outside and cold on the inside. They spent $150 and were very unhappy.

      We (that is, aledm) went back for a second time and had another delicious and delightful meal.