Beano’s Cabin |

Beano’s Cabin

Wren Wertin
BY PRESTON UTLEY The elk Wellington on parsnip puree puts a spin on the traditional beef dish.

There’s nothing accidental about dining at Beano’s Cabin. Located halfway up Beaver Creek Mountain, the preferred method of transportation is a snowcat-driven sleigh. Upon disembarking at the sprawling “cabin,” hang your coat on a peg, swap your boots for slippers and kick back and enjoy the sounds of Mac McCain and his well tuned guitar. (He takes requests, but it’s the songs that you wouldn’t think of requesting that make you grin.) Yes, you’ve arrived.

Get used to the idea of having five courses. If you go the chef’s tasting route (a notch up in both quality and dollars), you don’t have to make any more decisions: It’s laid out course by course. If you opt for the regular menu, you only have to decide on an appetizer and an entree. The rest is taken care of. Honestly, the items on the regular menu sounded more interesting to me, but I went for the chef’s tasting just to see what executive chef Steven Topple had up his sleeve. Well, he had plenty. I’m still dreaming about the tuna nicoise that kicked off my meal, the vinaigrette elusively sweet, the olives shredded so as not to overwhelm the delicate fish.

Chef Topple employs a deft hand with his cuisine. Despite the premise of “luxury mountain lodge” and the proportions it demands, the flavors are refined and trustworthy. Gnocchi melts, sea bass is succulent and juicy veal comes “lollipop-style.” Topple is quick to share credit with his team, including executve sous chef Michael Tolosa. Everything has a little twist to keep it interesting. The duck confit crowns a bittersweet orange-cherry compote, which is actually sweetened by the meat. The osso buco is made with buffalo instead of veal.

Despite the fact that it closes in the off seasons ” or perhaps because of it ” Beano’s has managed to retain servers who not only know the menu intimately, but are as happy to be there as you are. There’s no mistaking genuinely warm service, and Beano’s veterans such as Sean Clifford and Steve Sprug not only ensure an evening that flows well, but one that is paired well, too. Trust their judgement.

If you’re not going the chef’s tasting route, try the elk Wellington. And English specialty (a nod to Topple’s roots), this version uses mountain game instead of beef, and includes a downright sassy huckleberry compote. Encased in pastry studded with thyme and sunflower seeds, a finely chopped duxelle of mushrooms brings an earthy flavor. It’s a fitting match for the Nickel and Nickel Vogt cabernet, which is a mountain wine in its own right. Big and deep with minerals, the single-vineyard vino stood right up to the self-assured elk.

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