34185 U.S. HWY 6 | Edwards
970.926.3613 | gashouse-restaurant.com
by Stephen Lloyd Wood
photo by andy Guy
|If you’re like many visitors to Colorado, thoughts of dining on wild game may conjure up memories of those gamey steaks Uncle Bud brought home from his hunting trips. Truth is, game meat is one of fine dining’s finer, and healthier, pleasures — and there’s no better place in the state to introduce yourself to it than The Gashouse Restaurant & Bar in Edwards, a longtime locals’ favorite.|
Indeed, discriminating diners with a flair for the wild owe it to themselves to branch out from the state’s more widely known dishes of local lamb and trout and try some of the wide range of other meats from animals native not only to Colorado but to the Rocky Mountains, in general, says Andy Guy, co-owner and manager.
“When people come to the mountains, they often want to try some of the other wild critters that traditionally run around here,” says Guy, who in his eight years at The Gashouse has slowly changed the menu from mainly beef steaks and seafood to one chock full of wild game dishes, too.
“That’s elk; that’s venison; that’s buffalo, or bison; that’s bear, antelope, caribou, wild boar, rabbit, duck, quail,” he says. “And because game, especially elk and venison, is far lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than beef, it’s better for you, too.”
For starters, try the buffalo carpaccio appetizer: loin meat from a Colorado bison that is lightly smoked, then sliced paper thin and served with crunchy crostini, capers and a drizzle of virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Or, there’s the Game Sausage Sampler, with samples of mixed sausages made from wild boar, smoked buffalo and “jackalope.”
“We always warn people about the ‘jackalope,’” Guy says, laughing, of the a hot-and-spicy but savory mixture of jack rabbit, antelope and habanero peppers.
Looking for an impressive platter to enjoy with friends? Go for the Gashouse’s Ultra Game Grill, with grilled quail, buffalo tenderloin, a bone-in venison chop and a game sausage of your choice.
The Gashouse offers a whole slew of other, more pedestrian options, as well, including soups and salads, pastas and burgers, and classic appetizers like the “buffalo”- and Thai-spiced chicken wings and their infamous Super Nachos. Guy suggests starting out with one of four kinds of oysters, served by the half-dozen, with the Barcat variety from the Chesapeake Bay being his personal favorite.
Indeed, seafood at The Gashouse is a local legend. The beloved Maryland Lump Crab Cakes is a real winner, as is the Seafood Combo offering lobster tail, crab cake and Cajun shrimp. And make sure to check the hand-written board on the wall for fresh fish specials, different every night.
All entreés, meanwhile, are served with mixed veggies and the choice of wild rice pilaf, fries or baked potato unless you up the ante with “twice-baked” potato, parmesan truffle fries, onion rings or a side of pasta Alfredo.
And save room for dessert. The lineup includes Kentucky pie, a huge, hot chocolate-chip cookie topped with chocolate syrup and crushed pecans, best enjoyed a la mode; fresh-baked apple pie; salted caramel brûlée cheesecake; and the go-to mud pie, a delectable ice cream sandwich with fudge in the middle and an Oreo cookie crust.
In the end, it’s the atmosphere of The Gashouse, originally a gas station in the 1940s and ‘50s that sat dormant for twenty years of so before co-owner Connie Irons opened it again as a restaurant in 1983, that first-time visitors remember most. The hunting trophies and other historic items on the walls — and the hundreds of Vail ski passes donated by loyal locals over the years, laminated to the main bar and tables throughout the restaurant — contribute to an unforgettable experience.
Even Uncle Bud would agree. •
Rustic mountain cabin with laid-back energy
The Ultra Game Grill