Vail’s Bistro FOURTEEN
Ryan Summerlin August 27, 2014
EAGLES NEST VIA EAGLE BAHN GONDOLA / VAIL MOUNTAIN
Between the 14-foot mountain peak Bistro Fourteen overlooks from its base location at the top of Eagle Bahn Gondola, and the excitement Vail’s adjacent Adventure Ridge creates, Bistro Fourteen sous chef Webster Lee has his work cut out for him to maintain his guests’ attention. Of course, he and pastry chef Anne Armstrong never disappoint; they aim to not only please, but also to surprise.
“I try to have some items you wouldn’t expect, and some items you would,” he says about his cuisine.
He keeps his summer menu light and fresh with healthy options like salads and fresh fish specials but also adds favorites for the many Southern visitors he receives, with dishes like fried chicken. Then he blends in a couple of innovative menu items, such as pork belly steamers with cucumber slaw, Asian barbecue sauce, and Chinese-steamed buns. He also adds a bit of Asian and Cajun to his Rocky Mountain trout, complementing it with a cornmeal Cajun crust, tropical fruit vinaigrette, forbidden black, sticky rice and grilled baby bok choy.
He sticks to fresh and house-made food, taking the time to grind his own brisket for burgers, making them juicier and more flavorful. In addition to sourcing fresh ingredients and making cuisine from scratch, he smokes his own turkey and uses fresh sourdough bread from the Avon Bakery for his turkey club sandwiches.
This year, he has added a pork chop from Salmon Creek, a Colorado company, which he pairs with plum sauce and a pork belly stir-fry.
Though he changes Bistro Fourteen’s menu seasonally, he maintains popular offerings, like his sweet and spicy seared tuna, served with sushi rice and miso slaw, complete with carrots, cabbage, red peppers and sprouts tossed with a miso vinaigrette.
Bistro Fourteen also consistently offers the family favorite kids’ three-course, $10 meal, which begins with carrots or grapes, features main entrees like a cheeseburger, grilled chicken tenders, pizza, or barbecue chicken, and ends with a brownie sundae.
Lunch and dinner entrees also include a glazed Colorado rack of lamb, spicy lobster linguine, Rocky Mountain trout, pasta and burgers.
Armstrong rounds out the Bistro Fourteen experience with petite desserts housemade with fresh, local produce. Her goal: to achieve the balance of sweet and tart, and rich and creamy, within two bites.
Her mix-and-match trios, and one-order wonders, include rhubarb and strawberry filled blintzes with homemade strawberry buttermilk ice cream; toasted marshmallow ice cream sandwiches with candied Marcona almonds; fresh berry cobbler with apricot ice cream; and a rich chocolate and peanut butter tart with peanut butter and jelly ice cream. In addition to an assortment of sorbets, gluten-free options also include chocolate and cherry cheesecake.
Outside Bistro Fourteen, a fire pit beckons guests to relax and watch the sunset as they enjoy a drink or a light bite from the starter menu, which ranges from buffalo nachos to wild mushroom risotto, steamed mussels or crab dip.
The bar offers a full selection of beers, wines and cocktails, making Bistro Fourteen the perfect place to relax in a casual alpine setting.
Bistro Fourteen is open seven days a week for lunch and Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for dinner. •