A taste of Colorado abundance
Ludwig’s Restaurant, the signature Sonnenalp restaurant, is capitalizing on the state’s agricultural abundance and through Sunday is offering a Taste of Colorado menu. The four-course dinner and wine tasting is the brainchild of Ludwig’s new Executive Chef Jean-Luc Voegele. Having spent the last 20 years chefing in France, Hong Kong and Hawaii, he’s an advocate of utilizing local products. Diners won’t leave hungry.
The food festivities start with Eagle peach wood-smoked salmon rolled with bavaroise, a salmon mousse. Served topped with a lobster-citrus cream sauce and salmon eggs, the dish’s creaminess is cut with the citrus bite and little burst of salt from the roe.
The second course, a salad, is a concoction of Colorado greens, beans and vine-ripened tomatoes tossed in a cherry-walnut vinaigrette which manages to be both sweet and tart. The portion is overly generous and uses no bitter greens.
Accompanying the first two courses is Carlson Cougar Run Chardonnay, 2000, a Colorado wine made in the Grand Valley. It packs a punch with both the well-developed fruity flavor and the alcohol content (15 percent). It’s better with food than without, as the acidic nature complements strong flavors.
Ludwig’s coup de grace is the main course, roasted Colorado rack of lamb with a Vail Valley wild sage crust. Served with ratatouille and mashed potatoes, the pan sauce is sweet and rich, soaking the plate with flavor. As for the lamb, it renders a knife superfluous, so tender is it. The counterpoint of slightly salted sage-and-breadcrumb crust gives variety in flavor and texture, and is the finishing touch on a dish that couldn’t easily be improved upon.
The entree is served with Carlson Cougar Run Merlot, 1999. Though not as good as the Chardonnay, it’s smokey, interesting and isn’t overshadowed by the lamb.
To finish off the meal, diners get to experience Colorado’s most loved fruit, Palisade peaches. The warm peach and hazelnut tart is accompanied by a fresh cherry coulis and a dollop of High Mountain Yogurt ice cream, soft and mildly sour. The peaches are so young their skins are left on, and they sink into the soft crust.
At $45 per person, the dinner is a fine-dining bargain in the heart of Vail. With spacious chairs and tables, the atmosphere is one of slightly decadent comfort. Ludwig’s regular menu is available as well, but the Taste of Colorado menu will only be seen through Sunday. For more information contact the restaurant at 476-5656.
Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.