BOWLING THE NIGHT AWAY | VailDaily.com

BOWLING THE NIGHT AWAY

Melanie Wong
Special to the Daily
The whole branzino, pan searedin a lemon sauce, served with haricot vert, arugula and fennel salad.
Dominique Taylor | Special to the Daily

If you go ...

Price: $12-$45.

Ambiance: Buzzy, stylish bowling alley, bar and restaurant great for families and big groups.

Signature dish: Menu created around shareable dishes.

Editor’s note: This story was reprinted from EAT Magazine, featuring the best restaurants in the Vail Valley. EAT is available on magazine racks and in hotel lobbies for free.

At bol, opposing dining concepts collide — gourmet food, fine wine and sophisticated cocktails are paired with the clash of bowling pins and the stylish modernity of a hip bar — and the effect is nothing short of a fun time.

Situated in Vail Village’s Solaris Plaza, bol boasts an energetic vibe equally suitable for a raucous night out with a group, dinner with the family or a fun date night. Of course, one of the restaurant’s main attractions is its namesake, an upscale bowling alley complete with sleek lanes and swanky couch seating. It’s an inviting place to munch on snacks and sip wine between strikes and easily accommodates large groups.

While the atmosphere is relaxed, the food at bol is classy and sophisticated — but not so much so that you hesitate to lick your fingers.

“It’s a comfy, fun place, and it can definitely get loud on some nights,” said executive chef Paula Turner. “We’ve worked to style the food around that, with top-notch dishes made to share with the table.”

To share, try the tempura veggies, a generous mix of seasonal vegetables fried in a light batter and paired with tamari-ginger vinaigrette. The lamb lollipops are another longtime favorite at bol, and for good reason. The petite chops are tender off the bone, juicy to the core and deliciously seasoned with Peruvian pepper sauce, a tangy chimichurri and jalapeno crisps.

Savory Twists

On cold winter days, Turner’s menu offers plenty of comfort food to warm the belly after a day on the slopes. The duck potpie is a savory twist on a traditional favorite, boasting salty confit duck and a piping hot, buttery crust. For something lighter, try the scallop achiote, a vibrant, original dish featuring seared scallops, a medley of peppers and butter sauce made with the Latin spice achiote, all over a bed of zucchini ribbons.

Seafood aficionados and adventurous eaters shouldn’t miss the pan-seared branzino, a sea bass served whole. It’s different from your typical fillet, but the crispy skin keeps moisture and flavors in, maintaining all of the fish’s delicate richness.

The buzzy bar, situated in front of several large screen TVs, is a great spot to sip on a creative craft cocktail. Snowy nights call for the Bad Santa 2, a boozy combination of spicy rye, smooth bourbon and bitter Lillet. If you’ve got the winter blues, the cure is the Mahalo, a vodka-and tropical fruit-based drink that will transport you straight to the beach.

It’s hard to say whether the food and drink complements the bowling or the other way around, but either way, bol delivers a unique experience and world-class dining.

“We’ve worked hard to elevate the food over the last couple years, but the most important thing is that the vibe here remains fun,” Turner said.