Four Seasons Vail’s contemporary mountain steakhouse
Surf and turf the Rocky Mountain way at Flame
Four Seasons Vail
One Vail Road
Vail, CO (970) 477-8650
Charred; grilled; seared; roasted; crispy…reading the menu at Flame at the Four Seasons Resort Vail is a bit like perusing a thesaurus in search of the perfect adjective. Serving up “modern mountain cuisine,” Flame takes its name seriously yet is far from being just another steak house. Featuring a variety of seafood, hearty vegetarian options and yes, plenty of steak, Flame is one of those rare dining destinations that can satisfy the pickiest palate in any generation.
Start your epicurean journey with a bit of light: a 7x Ranch Wagyu beef fat candle, to be exact. Developed by Simon Purvis, executive chef of Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail, the candles are made from the fat trimmings of excess Wagyu beef offered throughout the menu. Lit by a torch—and just one of the table-side presentation options on the menu–the rendered beef fat melts, picking up the rosemary and other spices on the plate before transforming into a novel alternative to butter or oil for dipping.
Then comes the task of narrowing down the rest of the meal. Flame’s menu is organized with starters and soups, raw bar seafood options and starters; it would be easy to simply stop here and sample a bit of everything. However, that would leave two-thirds of the menu unexplored and that’s simply not acceptable. It’s said that we “eat with our eyes first,” so continue with the dramatic and order the charred fall squash soup, a rich and velvety concoction that’s poured over mole marshmallow mountains, and the crispy tempura avocado roll, decadent mouth-fulls of spicy ahi tuna, crispy shallots, caviar and a homemade ponzu sauce that is drizzled over the rolls.
These opportunities to get out and meet his guests are something that Chef Purvis enjoys. “Chefs are always in the kitchen,” he says. “To get to come out and see the guest’s reaction to the candle or the soup or the roll, it’s what I enjoy.”
Other options for interaction include the chilled shellfish tower and the 30oz Wagyu Tomahawk steak, one of the signature dishes at Flame. This substantial steak is delivered tableside and sliced to share. Javier, who has worked as a waiter at Flame for several years, said that it’s a showstopper: Requests for the Tomahawk spike after a table orders it.
In addition to the various cuts of steak, there are plenty of other options for vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians and almost any other “-arian.” The charred cauliflower steak provides a vegan option for a classic carnivore experience; the Dover sole meuinere is light and flavorful—a twist on a classic that dispenses with dated elements and elevates the rest. And if game is afoot, don’t miss the roasted elk loin served with huckleberry braised red cabbage and juniper jus. Save room for the extras: enhancements like habanero bacon-wrapped scallops and pan-seared foie gras and sides like crispy Brussel sprouts and duck confit fingerling potatoes only elevate and already memorable experience.
If there is room for something sweet, consider the honey cheesecake made with goat cheese and served with homemade fig ice cream, candied walnuts and a balsamic glaze or try one of the homemade ice creams or sorbets—the lemon basil is particularly delightful. •top 10-ounce New York strip with sautéed local mushrooms.