La Tour brings French flair to Vail Village | Vail Daily | VailDaily.com

La Tour brings French flair to Vail Village

Katie Coakley
EAT
Photo - La Tour in Vail
Porch Pounder | lemon zest infused gin, tequila lime liqueur, chareau aloe liqueur, cucmber basic, watermellon juke, salt from La Tour in Vail. (Photo by Justin Q. McCarty)

Editor's note: This story first ran as a paid feature in EAT magazine's summer edition.

There are certain sights that just lift the heart, and the first glimpse of the yellow umbrellas at La Tour is one of them. Shading the spacious patio, those cheerful umbrellas beckon, pledging a meal to be savored, a drink to be clinked and an evening not to be forgotten.

When you're comfortably situated at the perfect table, the difficult choices begin. Wine or cocktail? The answer is clear: Why not both? The cocktail menu offers choices from "refreshing and delicious" to "boozy and complex," with almost every concoction featuring at least one homemade ingredient from sommelier Kainoa Guerin.

Ask questions: Hearing Kai describe the care and detail taken in creating the "blue butterfly" ice cubes in the White Walker and the evolving taste experience that results is almost as good as the drink itself. Fruity and floral without being overpowering, featuring green tea-infused gin, apricot liquor and lemon cordial in addition to the striking blue ice cubes, this is one Walker that you'd not mind being caught by.

The dinner menu is equally tempting. Caviar, foie gras, lobster and oysters on the half shell remind you that every occasion can be special and indulging is what keeps life interesting. Entrées are created to satisfy almost any palate, from hand-cut steaks to panko-crusted sea bass and cast iron seafood fideuà, a Spanish paella made with vermicelli noodles and a bounty from the sea including octopus, mussels, clams and shrimp.

However, sometimes it's best to leave the decisions in the hand of the experts — choose the chef's tasting menu. With five courses perfectly paired with the best of La Tour's extensive wine list, this option allows you to bask in the knowledge that you're in good hands with Executive Chef Sammy Shipman.

"I get to come in and be creative," Shipman says. "I get to be an artist."

If you go ...


What: La Tour.
Where: 122 E. Meadow Drive, Vail.
Cost: Starters $6-$29; mains $25-$31; chef's tasting menu $89-$120.
Signature dish: Dover sole meuniere served in brown butter sauce with haricots verts
Ambiance: Approachable elegance
More information: Call 970-476-4403 or visit http://www.latour-vail.com.

And it's the diners who get to enjoy his art. An heirloom tomato salad becomes a modern art masterpiece with the glowing yellow and red tomatoes and bright verjus vinaigrette; a house-made ricotta is a light, refreshing alternative to the classic mozzarella and a smoked almond granola adds a pleasant crunch.

Seasonal ingredients are the stars, with Shipman sourcing produce from the Vail Farmers' Market & Art Show when possible. A Colorado sweet corn soup is garnished with truffled popcorn and preserved truffle, its gorgeous yellow taste singing of summer.

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But dining at La Tour this summer also presents the opportunity to taste a blast from the past. This year celebrates two decades of Chef-Owner Paul Ferzacca at the helm of La Tour and to celebrate, the menu features two beloved favorites every week for 20 weeks. Breaking open the pastry present that wraps the baked salmon feuille de brick, one is reminded of the penchant for en papillote that reigned in 1999 — this version is even better as it's edible, allowing the crispy phyllo to contain the mushroom duxelles and perfectly cooked salmon.
Each week features a different entrée, giving you the perfect excuse to maintain a weekly date. Those yellow umbrellas are beckoning — it's time to indulge.