Mirabelle serves exquisite cuisine in an intimate, comfortable setting | VailDaily.com

Mirabelle serves exquisite cuisine in an intimate, comfortable setting

Brenda Himelfarb < br> EAT magazine
Diver sea scallops, fois gras, truffles, black olive tapenade.
Dominique Taylor
If you go ... What: Mirabelle, Belgian American in a historic setting. Where: 55 Village rd. | Beaver Creek. Cost: Prix fixe four-course dinner, changes nightly: $75 per person; Appetizers:$10-$19;Entrées: $21-$45. Signature dish: Any dish with seared foie gras, classic chocolate soufflé for dessert. More information: 970.949.7728 | mirabelle1.com.

There is only one word to describe everything about Mirabelle at Beaver Creek: exquisite. From the moment you walk into the cozy sitting room with its warm fireplace and small bar, you are taken to another place. A place of intimacy and comfort, that’s chic and unpretentious. And, at once, you know your evening will be exceptional.

Mirabelle is located on the site of the first home in the valley of Beaver Creek, the log residence of George Townsend, who settled here in 1882. Over the years, The Ranch House, as it was called, was expanded and is now the picturesque home of the restaurant, hosted by its owners, Nathalie and Belgian Master Chef Daniel Joly.

“We are not pretentious,” explains Daniel. “We’re always laid back. You check your coat, someone smiling greets you and takes your coat and you sit down. You’re in a good mood, you have a good meal and all of that is tied together. Most people say that they go to a restaurant because of its food. But, I think it’s much more than that. You need to be comfortable and treated well by the waitstaff. All that is very important.”

Yet, along with the relaxed atmosphere, Chef Joly’s newest creations are just what bring patrons to Mirabelle.
To begin, “Le Menu Gourmand,” a restaurant staple, is a four-course dinner that includes appetizers, entrée and dessert.
A plethora of appetizers include a “soup du jour,” such as Belgian onion soup with parmesan crust; jumbo scallop au beurre, with black truffle emulsion; foie gras gratin Perigourdine, a melt-in-your-mouth seared foie gras from Hudson River Valley with poached caramelized pear, green tea matcha and cranberry tuile; a Thai basil blue crab eggroll; and an exceptional sweetbread and pork belly salad with chimichurri sauce.

It’s a difficult choice to make, but the sweet-and-savory Canadian maple syrup goat cheese pannacotta with heirloom beet salad and popcorn chips shines, as does the buffalo carpaccio with capers, parmesan, quail egg and pickled red onion. And let’s not forget the imported Ossetra caviar, with blinis.

Main course fish and meats are exquisitely cooked and elaborately displayed with the accompanying vegetables coming from the restaurant’s greenhouse, located on its grounds and “blooming” year-round. And every dish on the menu radiates the imaginative expression of Chef Joly, whether it’s the Loup de Mer Sea Bass “Papillotte,” with fresh herbs, fennel, cherry tomato and basil or the ambrosial North Sea Dover Sole Meuniere, with crispy potato, cauliflower, broccoli floret and lemon butter sauce. Vegetarians can enjoy Mille Feuille, layers of grilled vegetables and tomato confit coulis with quinoa and garlic.
In addition to grass-fed beef tenderloin and Colorado farm-raised rack of lamb, favorite meat dishes include Mountain River Ranch elk served with flamish red apple cabbage, bok choy and potato gnocchi or the savory braised, slow-cooked Catalan boneless beef short ribs in blanquette, homemade spicy tomato barbecue sauce and herbal greenhouse salad.

The restaurant has a list of over 350 wines. “We taste all the wines we serve and are very specific. We try to find good value, as well,” he says.

“We opened in ’82, yet we continuously work to perfect our offerings. We’re always fine-tuning,” continues Joly, “from where we buy our meat and fish to growing our own vegetables to making our own bread and pastry. We’ve been blessed. We’ve gotten great support from the local community, and we really want to consistently improve.”