Saddleridge at Beaver Creek offering gourmet Colorado cuisine | VailDaily.com

Saddleridge at Beaver Creek offering gourmet Colorado cuisine

Katie Coakley
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.

Beaver Creek is well known for its myriad opportunities to dine well, situated in historic cabins on the mountain. However, a visit to SaddleRidge reveals perhaps one of the most unique experiences at the resort: an elevated dining experience, firmly entrenched in the Old West.

SaddleRidge, which offers guests gourmet Colorado cuisine, is home to one of the largest private collections of Western artifacts in the United States outside of a museum. Guests can check out the mounted game heads, General Custer's historical hat and canteen and one of the original George Washington portraits used on the dollar bill before settling down for a nosh.

"SaddleRidge is a wild game restaurant with southwestern

Colorado flair fare," says General Manager Jeff Baker.

As a result, the menu is diverse, featuring familiar dishes with a frontier twist, like the buffalo chili. However, you won't find these dishes in a chuck wagon. For example, the wild boar meatballs, also found on the small plate menu, is accompanied by a pumpkin béchamel, topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano, pumpkin seed pesto, roasted grape balsamic jam and garlic toast. Or the smoked venison carpaccio, which comes with black-eye pea and bean salad, huckleberry reduction, pickled carrot and mustard seed mayo.

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A favorite of SaddleRidge Executive Chef Adam Roth's that is returning this year is the PEI mussels, says Baker. They're found swimming in a bath of tomatillos, shallots, jalapeño, bacon, lime and cilantro with garlic toast for dipping up every last drop of the flavorful broth.

The large plate menu offers options for almost any appetite, with cuts of steaks and chops that would appease even the toughest cowboy's craving.

"The signature dish at SaddleRidge is the 24-ounce dry-aged Buffalo Tomahawk steak, which is absolutely fantastic," says Baker. There's also a Rocky Mountain elk T-bone and Nebraska Waygu beef strip steak from which to choose, as well as lamb osso buco and trout (both from Colorado) and vegetarian options like gnocchi.

To access this delightful dining experience, guests can visit during lunch or dinner. Those coming at lunch can ski in: staff from SaddleRidge will meet them at the top of the ski-way and escort them down. After lunch, diners are treated to a ride to the top of Haymeadow, courtesy of The Sherpa, a snowmobile-powered trailer that seats nine. For those who don't ski, the restaurant is also accessible via Beaver Creek's complimentary shuttle van and by snowshoe.

This season, there are even more opportunities to try SaddleRidge. The restaurant is open seven nights a week as opposed to five night a week like last season, Baker says, in addition to lunch three days a week: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Reservations are required.

Combining Old West artifacts with modern Colorado cuisine, SaddleRidge creates a memorable mélange for guests that will have them skiing in time and time again.

If you go …

What: Saddleridge, cozy and intimate or open-armed enthusiasm: just pick your night.

Where: Base of Beaver Creek’s Eastern Slope. No onsite parking; schedule a complimentary Village Transportation shuttle by calling 970-949-1938.

Cost: Appetizers $12-$17; entrees $33-$62.

Signature dish: 24-ounce Tomahawk steak.

More information: Call 970.-754-5456 or visit http://www.saddleridgebeavercreek.com.