Gore Range Brewery serves great food with great beer
Editor’s note: This article was previously published as a paid feature in EAT, a compendium of restaurant snapshots featuring the best in Vail Valley dining. Look for it on newsstands everywhere.
Pascal Courdouy migrated to the Vail Valley from Europe and New York City, where he was one of New York’s Top 5 French chefs for 13 straight years. He had his own cooking shows in the U.S. and Europe, and landed at the Park Hyatt as the executive chef.
One night he was working the dining room like the gracious host he is, when Russell Molina stopped him. Molina offered to be his partner if Pascal wanted his own restaurant. He did, and they are.
The culinary arts can be glorious, but need not be complicated. Pascal is an inquisitive sort, and asked people what they wanted to eat. They told him. He prepared it. They ate it and it made their insides mile. Customers came back and ate some more. They’re still smiling, and so is Pascal.
“I enjoy what I do here,” he says.
The Gore Range Brewery is what it says it is — a great restaurant with outstanding beer. That, too, is Pascal’s handiwork. Pascal grew up in a family of winemakers. Beer is similar, and you learn by doing — so he did. He had been through a few brewers in the last seven years. These days he and Richard Carnes brew the beer. They sell it in the restaurant and nowhere else. Their beer goes with their food, and you should go there to try both.
And because Pascal was raised with good wine and loves it, they sell good wine.
Pascal and his staff hide nothing. The kitchen is open and you can watch them work. There’s even an open pizza oven, which had to be grandfathered in when they bought the place.
We started with the coconut shrimp — the shrimp is fresh — and sampled the light and flavorful ham and Swiss quiche. They serve a smoked brisket dip on Pascal’s homemade pretzel bread, with their homemade au jus.
Get an order or two of their homemade French fries, and ask for their homemade ketchup. While you’re sampling, try the deviled eggs.
If you catch them on the right day, you can get a chicken fried steak that’s a contender for the world title. That was Russ Molina’s idea. He’s from Texas.
Someone at the table should order the shepherd’s pie. Get a glass of cabernet to go with it.
Desserts? Get one of each, especially if one of them is Toblerone chocolate mousse.
“A classic needs to be a classic. If it’s not, people will be disappointed. We’re not trying to reinvent the world here. We’re making people happy,” Pascal says. •
Fall means food and wine festivals and also a chance to see the colors just starting to turn over Vail Pass during a bike ride for charity.