DECA + BOL’s globally inspired menu brings flavor to the Vail restaurant and bowling alley

Wren Bova, EAT Magazine
Confit Duck Bao Buns with pickled carrot, radish, cucumber.
Dominique Taylor/EAT Magazine

Unless you travel with your custom bowling ball and shoes, it’s hard to get too serious when you’re eating in a bowling alley. But as with many things in the Vail Valley, DECA + BOL is not your average play-and-dine adventure. And in fact, though you can certainly order food and eat while bowling, it’s recommended that you dine at a table before or after your game — or skip the bowling altogether and dive right into the food and drinks that have long elevated this local hotspot.

“We’re family-oriented, definitely family-driven,” said General Manager Brian Rhodes about the operation. “Our core staff is great; everyone is really educated but it’s not stuffy. It’s a fun atmosphere. We want people to come and have really good food in a good environment. It’s pretty timeless.”

Executive chef Christopher Lauro is the man behind the menu. It’s filled with vivid flavors and intuitive combinations. His contemporary American fare is based on classical French technique and his own family food traditions — Italian-style all the way. “Well, I love food,” Chef Lauro said. “I grew up in a resort town like this. If you weren’t fishing, you were working in a restaurant. I’ve worked in restaurants all my life.”

Ceviche with shrimp, white fish, lime juice, red onion, cilantro and house-made tortilla chips.
Dominique Taylor/EAT Magazine

Lauro’s menu is romp around the globe: Mexican elotes, Hawaiian poke, European charcuterie. The confit bao buns are a standout, the succulent meat served with pickled carrots, radish and cucumber for maximum contrast. The dish hinges on the very classically prepared duck confit, which includes a 24-hour cure and low, slow cooking in duck fat. After the meat is picked off the bone, it’s dressed with a demi-glace laced with chile-garlic sauce. Piled into fresh, spongy buns that are steamed to order, it’s a multi-national creation with flavors that hit home.

Flatbread pizzas predate Chef Lauro’s tenure in the kitchen, but he’s certainly made them his own. Introducing options such as lasagna flatbread— with house-made smoked ricotta and meatballs, no less — and pear-prosciutto, the options are a little taste of home. Salads and sandwiches are quite popular, and Chef Lauro’s hands-down favorite is the fried eggplant sandwich, thanks to the flavors on the pan-fried veggie. Entrees include grilled salmon, wagyu zabuton steak and chicken and waffles with a (what else?) Italian spin, thanks to the chicken cutlets.

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“It is unlike any other chicken and waffles out there,” said the chef.

As for Rhodes, he likes the wahoo and rock shrimp ceviche with fresh pops of citrus and chiles.

“I love the freshness of the ceviche, such a simple, great summertime dish,” he said. “It’s best eaten on the patio with a bottle of wine or bubbles.”

And about that patio …

“Oh it’s the best patio in the valley,” he promised. “It’s got the most sun.”

For those so inclined, DECA + BOL has a terrific cocktail program. James Hallmark developed it since the restaurant’s inception, and has quite a local following. The cocktail names alone give a good idea of the menu’s scope: Peachy Blinders, Oaxacan Fire, DrunkPunch Love. They put a spring in your step and, if it’s really your day, a strike in your game

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