Tavern on the Square
675 LIONSHEAD PLACE | LIONSHEAD
970.754.7704 | ARRABELLE.ROCKRESORTS.COM
When you’re having the perfect ski vacation, snowflakes fall lightly at midday, as you try to decide whether to sit outside on the Tavern on the Square’s patio, or inside, in a cozy corner.
It’s just steps from the Eagle Bahn gondola, meaning you can take in the action from your window seat, or hail your friends to join you for a relaxed meal.
This place is a gastropub in the true European tradition, where you may want to snuggle with your honey at the bar, or walk around in your ski boots.
But when it comes to the food at the Tavern, look for clean flavors in the best new American tavern cuisine style. That means fresh tastes made with locally-sourced ingredients and easily recognizable bar food.
“It’s the foodie’s answer to comfort food,” says Paul Wade, executive chef. “Understated elegance. Honest and approachable.”
There’s the updated Croque Madame “Cubano” sandwich with ham, roast pork, pickles and Swiss cheese, and a duck egg on top, smothered in béchamel sauce. The corresponding Muffaletta is the traditional Italian ham and cheese, made with Parma ham, salami and soppressata.
Another stellar sandwich is the aptly named knife and fork Brisket BLT made with smoked brisket, pork belly, fried green tomatoes, arugula and lemon aioli. All meats are cured in house.
You could go lighter with the vegan Radiatore, which blends the flavors of quinoa pasta spirals with tomatoes, arugula and herb crumbs. But it’s vacation, right? Check out the trendy poutine cheese fries elsewhere on the menu. You’ll be able to ski them off in no time. There’s the simple: sea salt and parmesan; the complex: a short rib and mushroom sauce delivered with fontina cheese; and the decadent: shrimp fries with bacon and jalapeño, covered in a velvety cheese sauce.
At lunch or dinner, market steak and potatoes for the traditionalist serves as a counterpoint to a Colorado striped bass and a bouillabaisse rich with shrimp, scallops, mussels and clams.
The sweets menu goes playful. Kids and adults alike will love the donuts — warm Munchkin-style morsels served with chocolate, fig and chestnut jam and custard sauce. The S’mores Crack Jar will delight anyone who loves chocolate pudding, topped by graham cracker dust and hand-crafted marshmallows.
At Tavern on the Square, there’s also a special menu for Fido (we’re told that the doggies always lick their plates clean), a kids’ menu, a vegan menu, and a spa menu (the restaurant connects directly with the Arrabelle on the west wall).
It might be the signature cocktails that keep regulars coming back year after year, however. The Vail Mule comes in its own engraved copper mug that you get to keep. Refills are $10, anytime, any day.
With such eclectic choices, we say, “Comfort foodies, unite!” •
Yes — there’s a canine menu available on the terrace