Belly up slopeside at Buffalos restaurant in Beaver Creek |

Belly up slopeside at Buffalos restaurant in Beaver Creek

Kim Fuller
Specail to the Weekly

Editor's note: This article was previously published as a paid feature in EAT, a compendium of restaurant snapshots featuring the best in Vail Valley dining. Look for it on newsstands everywhere.

If you've been to Buffalos — a great place to belly up slope-side at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch — you may recall delicious pub food and an impressive selection of beer and whiskey. This winter, you'll find all that and so much more at the restaurant and bar.

"We're moving away from just being beer and bourbon and burgers, and turning toward a more gastropub vibe," shares Food and Beverage Manager Christopher Saputo. "It will still be very comfortable and casual, but we're definitely elevating the food."

The rustic setting feels almost like a watering hole from Colorado's historic frontier days, but nothing about the space is dated. Refined expressions of wood and leather make Buffalos an ideal destination for a delicious après ski, watching the big game with buddies or enjoying dinner with the whole family.

Many specialties firing out of the open kitchen are great for sharing, like the cast iron nachos with a pile of delicious ingredients including jalapeño cheddar cheese, steak or chicken (if you want it) and pico de gallo over corn tortillas.

Start with a flight of beer to taste three of Buffalos' 12 rotating drafts. The bar is still proud to work with Tivoli Brewing Company out of Denver to make a proprietary brew — a Vienna lager called Buck Buck Moose — that boasts a full body and satisfying finish.

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Bourbon is still an obvious favorite at this bar, and guests can get a taste with The Rose Bowl cocktail from longtime Ritz-Carlton bartender Samantha Means. The drink balances savory and sweet flavors, featuring muddled fresh rosemary, fresh lime, a little honey and 10th Mountain Rye Whiskey, served on the rocks with a rosemary sprig to garnish.

Family-style & Beyond

Dinner choices can begin with light yet full-flavored salads like quinoa and spaghetti squash, served with beets, pepitas and shaved veggies. Family-style shared plate passing works well here, but there are also some upscale comfort food specialties that you might want all to yourself.

Try the sesame-crusted ahi tuna. The ruby red fish comes out on a spread of baby kale and black beluga lentils. Balanced textures and flavors come together beautifully with this dish, which is topped with a zesty miso soy vinaigrette. Those craving beef will gravitate toward the spiced hangar steak, served over sweet potato puree, Brussels sprouts and shaved radish.

For dessert, close it all down with the Cowboy Cookie. It's a "don't miss" and freshly baked chocolate chip cookie skillet topped with vanilla ice cream. Bourbon pairs nicely with this too, so don't hesitate if you're feeling like another pour.