12 Vail Road #100 | Vail | 970.479.0175 | vintage-vail.com
by John O’Neill
photos by justin Q. mccarty
|The four-seat square tables at Vintage restaurant in Vail are set neatly with white linen, oil candles and all the necessary accoutrement. Overhead, soft French music injects an equable mood into the room, and diners enjoying spirited conversation drift effortlessly from cocktails and starters to wine-paired mains to palate-softening desserts and evening coffee.|
Should you ever have had the good fortune to dine in France, you’d be impressed that Vintage is not some listless impersonation, but a true-to-form experience of a French brasserie.
“There is something very comforting and comfortable and nostalgic about a room like this,” Laurance Broderick, owner and general manager of Vintage, says. “All of the room, food and service is a compliment to the company people are keeping and the conversations they’re having. We want people to come in here and just connect.”
For this winter’s season, executive chef Remington Fleming has doubled the size of the starters and sides, increased the entrée offerings and will offer rousing chalkboard features.
“A lot of the techniques we use are French,” Fleming says. “A lot of research goes into these classical French dishes with space on the menu to explore some new American style.”
The steak frites, onion soup, tartare and Lyonnaise salad are prepared as traditional French classics, whereas the tuna crudo or octopus starters are the chef’s creations along with the chalkboard features. The pâté, made with bourbon instead of brandy, and the frog legs fall somewhere in between as a modern twist on quintessential French cuisine.
The wine list is set by sommelier Johnny Thompson, who is influenced in some ways by his upbringing in the reinvented French culture of New Orleans: It is approachable with reasonable prices on the higher end bottles of recognizable labels, but there is also a novel selection that may require a bit of faith in the stewardship of Thompson.
“I try to accommodate the high expectations of our diners by maintaining more food-accommodating wines,” Thompson says. “The American palate these days gravitates toward wines that are higher in alcohol content with fruit qualities, but those don’t pair as well with food as the Old World wines do. I definitely maintain a French influence and try to have wines with more acidic structures that are going to really complement the food you are salivating for and getting ready to eat.”
Vintage embodies a culture that persists in France today, one where friends or family come together over a meal or a cocktail. The restaurant seems to diminish stress and center the attention of its diners on the taste of the food and quality of the conversation.
Bon appétit. •
8:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Friday to Monday
5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.