Katie Coakley
Special to the Daily

Keeping things light and fresh at Mirabelle at Beaver Creek

Take a splash of European charisma, a dash of comfortable charm and a heaping spoonful of delectable and you’ll have the recipe for Mirabelle restaurant.

Located just beyond the gates into Beaver Creek, Mirabelle’s historic building is believed to be the first home in Beaver Creek. The restaurant retains its homey and welcoming feel but the cuisine is fully five-star. Led by Belgian Master Chef Daniel Joly, Mirabelle focuses on fresh ingredients and classic dishes.

For the summer, the recipes reflect the season with smaller entrees that are satisfying but not overwhelming in size. Sit on the back deck and the light chatter of the creek in the background heightens the experience. Pick a few options to start and be sure to share — it’s all about the sampling possibilities.

Consider the grilled shrimp brochette, which is an illustration of Joly’s culinary perspective. Comprised of perfectly grilled shrimp that are infused with smoky goodness and just a hint of salt, they are excellent on their own. However, paired with a Thai coconut curry reduction, its sweet and silky texture playing beautifully with the spice on the shrimp, the familiar barbecue fare is taken to an unexpected level.

Finding Inspiration

It’s this reinvention of familiar ingredients that makes a trip to Mirabelle memorable. Chef Joly changes the menu several times during the year, adjusting flavors to fit the season. He’s also constantly gathering inspiration, from events such as the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen to places like the grocery store.

Yes, the grocery store.

“I’ll go to Food & Wine in Aspen, in South Beach, to mingle in the big city,” Joly said. “I want to see what they’re doing, pairing and matching. You don’t copy it, but you twist it. Even at the grocery store, I’m always on the hunt.”

Inspiration can come from many quarters, but the fundamental allure of Mirabelle remains. Though the main ingredients are recurring — rack of lamb, duck, foie gras — the presentation and execution is always new and interesting.

The duck is a prime example. Layered over a sweet potato puree and a soy-honey reduction, the duck is perfectly seasoned and succulent, holding court on the plate with the other ingredients as flattering courtiers.

“You have the flair and service of a high-end restaurant, but the unfussy taste of great ingredients and flawless execution,” explains Joly. “It’s a place you come again and again and are still pleasantly surprised.”

One thing that remains constant is the Dover sole, a signature item on Joly’s menu.

“I tried to take it off a few times and, ahh!” he said. “People kept asking me where it was. So I put it back on. It will stay there.”

This story first ran in EAT! Magazine, available in stand-alone locations throughout the community. The stories are sponsored by each restaurant.


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The VailDaily Updated Aug 17, 2014 10:43PM Published Aug 17, 2014 10:43PM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.