Russell’s Steakhouse on Vail’s Bridge Street opened in 1989 | VailDaily.com

Russell’s Steakhouse on Vail’s Bridge Street opened in 1989

Kim Fuller
Special to the Weekly

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.

Certain corners of Vail have kept it classic, and Russell's is at the top of that tried-and-true list. The steakhouse was opened in 1989 and is located on Bridge Street in the heart of the Village, right next to the Covered Bridge.

"We don't change our menu and people come back year after year for the consistency," says Michele Lewis.

Many locals belly up to the bar for camaraderie and occasional live music shows, and returning guests often make their reservations a season in advance to ensure they get their fill of the restaurant's timeless touch, delicious food and warm service. Request a window seat facing west to observe the bustle of town in the evening, or enjoy the quainter side of the restaurant to take in the rushing river.

Russell's has an approachable wine by the glass list, and a pour of the pinot grigio from Friuli, Italy, may be just what your palate needs to get ready for a round of appetizers. Try the tuna sashimi, served lightly blackened and with marinated cabbage, ginger and wasabi. It's a lighter dish that's full of flavor, and it's perfect for the table to share. Escargots is not to be missed, served decadently with butter and a touch of curry spice and ideal with a glass of equally elegant Chardonnay.

For your salad choice, combine two mainstays with the Half & Half, featuring a fresh and savory Caesar on one side of the plate, alongside a couple slices of the Tomato Basil Salad with blue cheese, pine nuts, onion and basil vinaigrette.

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There isn't a piece of meat on Chef Markus Gatter's menu that will disappoint, but go for the Surf & Turf if you're looking for the most dynamic dish. A half pound of Alaskan King Crab is served with an eight-ounce filet. Crack the crab shell to dip its tender meat into drawn butter, and slice a forkful of beef to slide it through a side dish of bearnaise. All entrees are served with Russell's scalloped potatoes and the vegetable of the day, such as green beans. Other side dishes are available to order, including sauteed mushrooms, steamed asparagus, potatoes au gratin or mashed, while they last.

Dessert is a hard choice, with steakhouse signatures such as raspberry cheesecake, creme caramel and Mud Pie that entice — but the all-around showstopper is the Goldbrick Sundae. It's got everything, from French Vanilla ice cream with a raspberry sauce, to milk chocolate and walnuts poured over the sweet pile. Try it with a glass of ice wine for the full finale, but you may want to sit a while longer and enjoy the view.

If you go …

What: Russell’s, a classic steakhouse with views of Bridge Street or Gore Creek.

Where: 228 Bridge St., Vail.

Cost: Appetizers and salads $10-$22; mains: $28-$63.

Signature dish: Surf & Turf with Alaskan King Crab and an 8-ounce filet.

More information: Call 970-476-6700 or visit http://www.russellsvail.com.