Sweet Basil in Vail celebrates 40 years | VailDaily.com

Sweet Basil in Vail celebrates 40 years

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.

Two words can sum up a great meal out in Vail: Sweet Basil. This legendary establishment just celebrated 40 years, but nothing about this restaurant is getting old.

"That's the great aspect of what Sweet Basil is," explains Executive Chef Paul Anders. "It should always feel special and one-of-a-kind."

Generations of Vail locals and visitors continue to experience the sincere hospitality and renowned food of Sweet Basil — not because it's predictable, but because it's impeccable.

Anders works with chef Sean Sinclair to evolve the menu seasonally.

"We're serving very high-quality ingredients and treating them with as much respect as possible," says Sinclair. "Our goal is to serve fresh, beautiful food, year round."

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This winter, the savory and bright roasted pear and brie tart features cheese from Moon Hill Dairy out of Steamboat Springs. The rich flavors and textures of the brown butter custard and the flaky pastry crust are balanced by fennel and watercress.

The table can share more decadence with the Foie Snow, a refreshing take on foie gras that is served as chilled shavings. Wine Director Ben Daroca can suggest perfect pairings throughout your meal, and for the foie, it's of course Sauternes.

In honor of the four decades of delight Sweet Basil has offered guests, several signature dishes from years past have been brought back, better than ever.

"That's one of the great things about having that history in the restaurant," says Sinclair, "and being a part of that is working on things that were great once upon a time and making them great again."

The saffron linguine was a staple on the menu for 15 years, and after a 10-year leave, the entree has reemerged in all its glory. Scallops, shrimp and San Marzano tomatoes swim with the pasta in a lobster shallot cream.

Dishes such as the Wagyu ribeye filet make you swoon with every bite, exuding a level of perfection we've all grown to expect from Sweet Basil.

"For me, the food has to be terrific and top notch, and the room needs to sparkle, and the service has to be on point," shares Owner Matt Morgan. "And then it's just the people. The people we have been fortunate enough to work with and to keep over time. The kind of hospitality and continuity we create for the guests who come back year after year, that's what brings this all together and makes it special."

If you Go …

What: Sweet Basil, a contemporary mountain bistro and lively bar serving inspired, seasonal cuisine.

Where: 193 E. Gore Creek Drive, Vail.

Cost: Appetizers and shares $9-$17; mains $27-$52.

Signature dish: Snake River Wagyu Ribeye Filet with rosemary crushed potatoes, broccolini, roasted garlic puree and salsa verde.

More information: Call 970-476-0125 or visit http://www.sweetbasilvail.com.