Vista at Arrowhead’s tried-and-true approach
Walk into Vista and you can immediately tell who’s been there before. They’ve requested a table in view of Micky Poage, “Vail’s Piano Man,” and will happily nod along to all sorts of songs while eating, drinking and having an excellent time in general. Micky’s following is pretty passionate, and keeps people heading to the restaurant in Arrowhead from up and down the valley.
The musician’s draw is real, but Vista’s staying power comes from getting it so right across the board. There’s the easy hospitality that comes from a neighborhood restaurant used to hosting visitors from around the globe. The friendly bar that beckons for a nibble and nosh with a glass of wine or cocktail. The newly refreshed dining room, the view outside and the longevity of the staff. And, at the heart of it all, Restauranteur Daryl DeYoung and Chef Dave Collins, a dynamic duo of a team that lives and breathes dining and hospitality.
Collins manages to write a menu that seems absolutely abundant with options — both new and the tried-and-true — without being overwhelming. First courses run the gamut from crisp salads to garlicky, brothy mussels to veal and pork meatballs with eggplant caponata. The tuna poke tower is a stunner, piled high with seaweed salad, avocado, mango aioli and taro chips. And the panzenella salad is a zippy affair, with chunks of Italian bread tossed with olives, tomatoes and mozzarella in a balsamic vinaigrette.
The entrée list is packed with winners, such as seafood cioppino, a 14-oz. brined Duroc pork chop with maple baby carrots and a twice-baked potato, and an amazingly tender braised Rocky Mountain lamb shank with mushroom risotto and brussels sprouts. A vegetarian tower of various grilled, roasted and pureed veggies with a tomato sauce is a real showstopper. But the sesame-crusted yellowfin tuna is probably the Vista’s “most signature” of dishes, seared rare and served with jasmine rice, stir-fried veggies and both wasabi crema and soy-ginger butter sauce.
But guests who prefer to call the shots will love the customer-composed entrée section. Pick a protein — any of the above entrée items, in addition to Colorado steaks and short ribs, duck, fish and seafood — before pairing it with a homemade sauce like fresh horseradish cream, lemon picatta or red wine demi-glace. Accessorize with sides — the vegetable options are deep — and the resulting plate is a completely customized culinary adventure.
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Vista has been employing this mix-and-match style for several years, allowing guests to employ their creativity (and address any dietary restrictions) while streamlining the magic in the kitchen.
“We still wanted to have dishes that we’ve put together, but this gives guests the opportunity to choose exactly what they want,” DeYoung explained. End the evening with one of the house-made desserts or better yet, mini samplers for the table to share. And go for the suggested drink pairings — or skip right ahead to Daryl’s Sleepytime, with butterscotch schnapps and steamed milk.
Country Club of the Rockies Clubhouse
676 Sawatch Drive, Edwards