Sometimes where you sit in a restaurant can be as memorable as what you eat while you’re there. And during the summer at Beaver Creek’s Splendido at the Chateau, you’ll have several unforgettable options: an outdoor deck offering fresh mountain air, a dining room table within earshot of the piano bar, or a seat by the enviable open-theater kitchen. But even when it’s as hot outside as it is in the Splendido kitchen, you’ll still be able to choose from an array of cool and fresh summertime flavors.
“We stock up on fresh produce each Saturday at the Edwards farmers market,” says executive chef David Walford, “And we also work with a longtime local forager who brings us the best wild mushrooms, greens and herbs he can find in the area.” In this way, the Splendido menu integrates what’s fresh and seasonal, giving this world-class restaurant plenty of local flavor.
HEARTY, RUSTIC AND REFINED
To pique your palate, begin with the Hiramasa crudo, which adds zesty lemon, dill and capers to morsels of this yellowtail kingfish for a flavor-popping first course that pairs well with a glass of Prosecco. Thinly sliced cucumber and radish add a bit of crunch to the dish that’s artfully arranged.
For another taste-teaser before you order a main course, go for the wood-roasted artichoke and lobster salad. With a smoky flavor that comes from the wood oven glowing towards the back of the kitchen, the roasted artichokes stand out from this hearty salad’s other ingredients, which include buttery lumps of lobster, frisée and baby greens. The whole plate is drizzled with a bacon-anchovy vinaigrette and dotted with tomato-lobster mayonnaise.
When Walford took on the challenge of opening Splendido in 1994, the wood oven in the kitchen had only been used to cook pizzas. But as he began experimenting, Splendido’s “hearty and rustic — but refined — style of cooking” was born. As Walford moves with the restaurant into its 20th year, he’s still gets excited about finding new ways to wow his guests.
A standout among Splendido’s impressive array of main dishes is the dry-aged buffalo strip loin, which is served with an aligot potato purée that’s as rich and creamy as a cheese fondue. The Berkshire pork tenderloin and crisp belly arrives with a similar decadent flair, dripping in a sweet and tangy apricot caramel sauce.
For a sweet summer’s eve ending, choose something light and fluffy, like the dessert soufflé that comes in two varieties: chocolate or lemon-huckleberry. Both will be as remarkable as your visit to Splendido, whether you sit outside, or near the piano or where you can watch it all unfold in David Walford’s kitchen.