Game Creek Restaurant
January 31, 2017
Game Creek Bowl | Vail Mountain
Accessible via snowcat from Eagles Nest
970.754.4275 | gamecreekvail.com
Set back in the thin pine-forest on the east side of Vail's Game Creek Bowl, the wooden construct, overhanging eaves and smoking chimneys of Game Creek Restaurant are the first indications of a European chalet-style dining experience. The fact that getting there for dinner involves a gondola ride and snowcat shuttle under the bright stars of a black Colorado sky further sets the stage for an evening of mountainside indulgence.
Then, a coup of local influence lands you back in the Rockies with Chef Steven Topple's American menu with long-standing signature dishes such as gingerbread-crusted lamb paired with red-wine braised red cabbage, sweet potato gratin and a savory thyme sauce.
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Guests dine on a prix fixe menu, selecting either three or four courses from Chef Topple’s creative American menu. Or, for a more elevated culinary adventure, the Chef’s Gourmet Tasting Menu of five courses is available, and can be complemented with wine pairings designed by sommelier Josh Maclean.
The "Colorado Proud" menu sources many ingredients with short travel time while simultaneously supporting local farmers. There are things like bass and shrimp not native to the area, but also trout and locally raised goat salamis, cheeses and signature Colorado game meats such as lamb and bison.
"A Chef’s palate and creativity never wane, and such is the case for Chef Topple who enjoys dining at renowned restaurants and is perpetually on the lookout for new trends, styles of cooking, or intriguing flavors," says Jen Rizza, the general manager of fine dining. "He most recently dined at restaurants from Joel Robuchon, Pierre Gagnaire and Gordon Ramsey in Las Vegas, and snuck into Danny Meyer’s The Modern while visiting New York for the James Beard House dinner."
The James Beard House, by the way, is an acclaimed "performance space" for visiting chefs in New York City's Greenwich Village. Chef Topple visited in October for the fourth time, bringing with him Colorado ingredients to create dishes such as lamb tartar with quail egg and grilled venison with cherry gastrique. His event sold out.
To pair with delectable Colorado cuisine is a sophisticated wine and cocktail program catering to a variety of price points, viticultural regions, and stylistic preferences.
"As Thomas Jefferson said, ‘Good wine is a necessity of life for me,’ and so goes dining at Game Creek," Rizza said. "Game Creek’s wine program has earned the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence for the past two years, with eyes set on a third accolade."
Game Creek offers a variety of options, everything from family-focused reservation times to late-season romantic sunset diners, all of which and everything in between make for one of Vail's most remarkable dining opportunities. •
Prix Fixe Menu:
$99 (3 courses)
$109 (4 courses)
$140 (5-course Chef’s Menu)
Trout Chowder; Rabbit with Chorizo, Colorado Lamb, Venison