Splendido introduces exciting changes to decades of excellence | VailDaily.com

Splendido introduces exciting changes to decades of excellence

Kim Fuller
EAT magazine
Atlantic Monk Fish with short rib, carrot, chanterelle, allium.
Dominique Taylor
If you go ... What: Splendido at the Chateau, an elegant, mountainside kitchen serving choice New American fare in an upscale lodge with live piano music. Where: 17 chateau lane | beaver creek Cost: Appetizers: $17-$29; Entrées: $38-$53. Signature dish: Florida snapper with calamari, eggplant, bell pepper and basil. More information: 970.845.8808 | splendidorestaurant.com.

Editor’s note: This story first ran as a paid feature in EAT magazine.

In all its elegance and grandeur, Chateau Beaver Creek is reminiscent of a mountain castle. The drive up to the signature restaurant, Splendido at The Chateau, always feels a bit like an introduction to an idyllic fairytale. Pull through a stone archway to arrive in the restaurant’s entrance and see that none of this magic is imaginary. From the front door of Splendido to the last spoonful of dessert, the talent, passion and hospitality that has been written into the establishment shines through a most magnificent story.

Decades of excellence have maintained a superb reputation for Splendido, and Chef-Owner Brian Ackerman has introduced some exciting changes and additions to the Splendido repertoire this winter. Chef Corey Melanson and Dining Room Director Matthew McConnell have invigorated the menu, wine list and overall energy of the restaurant to set a scene of what is true terroir — the essence of place. Melanson has spent the past five years working as a farmer and chef in Oregon and is bringing his passion and expertise to Splendido. “In Oregon I was really connected to food — where it comes from and how we get it,” shares Melanson. “I really want to create an atmosphere here where the guests and the staff respect and enjoy the food even more.” The freshness and flavor is fully present in Splendido’s revitalized menu. Oysters are served on the half shell with habanada, a special pepper that Melanson introduced to the kitchen that has all the sweetness and tang of a habanero, without any of the spice. The charred baby octopus appetizer is served with fennel and rouille sauce amidst Melanson’s own ying yang beans. McConnell manages the wine program, and has brought in a by-the-glass list that makes course-by-course pairing a most magnificent experience. “I’m putting on wines that you don’t see on most lists,” he says. “It’s from relationships I’ve established and good timing. One of the things I love about wine is that it creates such a sense of place. I want to honor what our chefs are doing, and I want our wine list to match that.”

Gorgeous entrées of Florida red snapper and New Zealand venison saddle continue to showcase an homage to food intentionally sourced and intricately prepared, with pours of a lovely white Burgundy or single-vineyard Oregon pinot noir to complete the flavor perfection. “Winemakers put such passion into these bottles, and then we are pairing that with a chef’s passion and what he is putting onto a plate,” McConnell says. And as always, Pastry Chef Sebastien Schmitt designs decadence in style. Try his Snowman for dessert, made from sweetly stacked rounds of coconut “snow.” Maybe it is all too good to be true, or maybe it’s Splendido.

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