Sip on a specialty winter cocktail at 1800 | VailDaily.com

Sip on a specialty winter cocktail at 1800

Katie Coakley
EAT magazine

There's nothing like the cheerful crackling of a warm fire to warm the spirits (and the fingers) during the winter. At Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, the dancing flames are not just relegated to the outdoor firepits and the eye-catching dual-sided fireplace in the dining room of 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill. Inside, the kitchen, a large wood-fired grill holds court, kissing lamb, trout, elk, steak and even oysters with its tongues of flame. The result? An elemental experience.

Sip on a specialty winter cocktail, like the Winter Berry 'Tini (a blend of gin, Grand Marnier and cranberry juice that will put a festive bloom in your cheeks), and begin the wonderfully difficult decision of what to order. The appetizers are hale and hearty, perfect for whetting one's appetite. The Katahidin lamb sausage is a perfect starter: the sausage is a bit spicy and satisfying while the smoked lemon yogurt is a cool accompaniment and palate pleaser.

New for the winter, Chef Wade Eybel has created cast iron dishes designed to serve the table, family-style.
"We were searching for identity in the menu and what we do here and who we are," Eybel says. "Who we are is who our customers are."

To feed the families that flock to the slopes of Beaver Creek and frequent 8100, the cast iron dishes are designed to serve two to four people, focusing on quality ingredients and fresh flavors. Take, for example, the black truffle roasted Jidori chicken: A whole chicken, this heritage breed is considered the "Kobe beef of chicken" and is accompanied by fingerling potatoes, black pearl bacon lardon and caramelized onions. The Colorado rack of lamb is a ten-bone rack which can easily feed a group of four, or two very hungry guests.

Eybel says it's a great way to satisfy a family quickly: With one order, the table is fed with minimum fuss.
Alongside the family-style fare are plenty of single entrée options, too, highlighting the flavors of quality ingredients with smoke and fire. The red miso on the roasted salmon provides a new flavor twist on a classic dish while the texture of the tobiko (flying fish roe) plays well with the crispy wakimi seaweed salad. The dish's composition would look at home in a modern art museum, proving that a dish can taste as lovely as it looks.

Eybel is picky with his purveyors, sourcing meat from Colorado farms like Mountain View Pork Farm as well as local butchers: The lamb sausage is from Colorado Meat Company in Avon. A specialized dish is the 28-day dry-aged bone-in NY steak: Already a top cut of meat, the dry aging concentrates the flavor, making a great steak even better.
That's what dining at 8100 is all about, says Chef Eybel: "Really, really simple cooking techniques, straightforward ingredients, elements of smoke and fire, family-style and shareable."

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So the next time you're searching for sustenance in Beaver Creek, follow the smell of the smoke to 8100 and feast on food that's been kissed by flame.

If you go …
What: 8100 mountainside bar & grill, an upscale family and fine-dining experience.
Where: 50 west thomas place | park hyatt beaver creek
Cost: Appetizers from $14-$140 (large seafood tower); entrées from $28-$180, a ten-bone rack of lamb
More information: 970.827.6600 | hyatt.com/gallery/beave8100