Friday, March 11, 2011

On the Road Eat: Vail, Colorado

More recent eats from Vail, Colorado.
Dinner at Sweet Basil.
The pear and Pecorino Romano ravioli was served with sage brown butter, lemon flashed broccoli rabe, and puffed Anson Mills farro. It was wonderfully light and savory and the puffed farro was a delightful jolt of energy in the dish. But the portion was awfully small (three small ravioli, which each required just one bite), especially compared to other appetizer portion sizes.

Though I had my doubts about the accompaniments for the herb-crusted Colorado lamb t-bones, the execution wiped them away. The lamb was cooked with a nice char on the outside, but to a juicy medium rare on the inside. The meat, fairly mild in flavor, was topped with a tarragon salsa verde. And it turns out I might have been turned off by the idea of Anson Mills goat cheese polenta and celery root and fennel ragout only because I really had no idea what they would taste like. The polenta was smooth, serving as a nice backup for the meat, and the ragout was a gentle texture contrast.

You wouldn't be alone if you mistook this for a cup of coffee. It is in fact the milk chocolate creme brulee with espresso tapioca, marcona almonds and Amaretti cookies. Hidden underneath that foamy layer, the nuts and cookies are cradled in rich chocolate, giving it a depth that you'll definitely embrace.

The house-made ricotta doughnuts were coated in Tahitian vanilla sugar and came with lemon cream and preserved fennel. They were a bit denser than I would have liked. The Manjari chocolate tart with dulce de leche, a bruleed banana, Mexican chocolate ice cream and candied cocoa nibs was disappointingly boring. But the ice cream did have a bit of a spicy kick.

Dinner at Montauk Seafood Grill

Appetizers here are promising — both the lobster mac and cheese, wonderfully creamy but not too rich, and the Dungeness crab cluster are tasty. But it went downhill from there.

The New Zealand Barramundi was lightly grilled and came with sesame rice and steamed vegetables. The fish was slightly overcooked and the dish overall lacked flavor and was as boring as it looks.

Montauk's menu consists of fish imported from far-flung places, like Hawaii, but no local fish. Because of that, the prices are far too high for the quality of food and atmosphere you get. 

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