Vin48 serves terrific food, exciting wines on airy patio | VailDaily.com

Vin48 serves terrific food, exciting wines on airy patio

Wren Bova
EAT Magazine
Price: $8-$38 Ambiance: Modern mountain setting serving seasonal, Colorado cuisine Signature dish: Classic steamed mussels with house-made chorizo and oven-dried tomatoes

Whether you call it a wine bar or a community center, Vin48 is essential to the local landscape of terrific food, exciting wines and convivial hospitality. With a robust Happy Hour that has locals leaving work just a touch early to secure a seat, and a chef who regularly creates specials that might run out after a dozen orders, it’s a hotspot that celebrates the earnest efforts of farmers, winemakers and even guests.

But summer kicks it into overdrive. The dining room’s 35-foot-long wall of windows suddenly disappears, opening up the space to the airy patio that, depending on your seat, sports views of Beaver Creek Mountain, a lovely green area and Chef Charles Hays’ wood-fired grill. The restaurant’s raspberry bushes and chives grow just around the corner, and a busy kitchen can be heard in the distance.

“The best ingredients are usually what you have locally, things that don’t have to travel hundreds of miles. And summer is the most exciting time of year for food,” admits Greg Eynon, who owns and operates Vin48 with Collin Baugh and Chef Hays. Eynon is the “wine guy,” and usually has 40 to 50 wines by the glass on the menu, in addition to bottles. He’s excited to open up his list and invite in fresher, lighter — he would say, even “crunchier” — wines to play alongside the seasonal flavors that are coming out of the Vin kitchen.

And though his list makes a big change by the season — think seafood-friendly reds from fishing communities, slightly effervescent whites from warmer climes — it’s a year-round effort. From the food on the table to the wines that are poured, Vin48 operates according to its values, namely, make things from scratch with people you like. He likes to buy wine from people who do it like they do at Vin: inventively, passionately, with available resources.

Vin48 has developed a backbone of menu favorites that beckon — the Mountain View pork meatballs are little flavor bombs, the mussels with house-made chorizo leave you sopping up every last bit of juice, and the El Regalo Ranch goat tacos are both racy and demure.

But there’s a lot to be said for what’s new. An occasional special, fettuccini carbonara, includes the crown jewel of a fresh duck egg from Edwards — the ducks determine how many orders they can offer in a night. The brined pork chop has been wildly popular, served with horseradish mashed potatoes, roasted baby carrots and a sexy little apple-pork demi. And though Baugh cites the halibut with forbidden rice, coconut-clam broth and sautéed veggies as a bit of a slam-dunk, he’s in love with the deep sea red crab fettuccine.

“There are only five ingredients in it, but it’s awesome,” he says, including the house-made fettuccini as a single ingredient. “We use a really nice olive oil, the way the Italians do it. It’s so delicious.”

Though the food and wine are the lifeblood of Vin48, perhaps the real secret of success is the long-term staff that seems invested in the overall success of both the restaurant and their guests’ experience.

“It is such a personal experience, taking care of your guests,” agrees Baugh. “It’s like inviting someone into your home. You want to empower your staff, and be kind to them.” It’s working.