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Chap’s Grill and Chophouse

Wren Wertin
Vail, CO Colorado

You don’t have to be on your best behavior. From the spacious tables to the solid glassware, Chap’s makes it easy to sit back, let down your guard and relax. Helmed by executive chef Richard Beichner and his right-hand man, executive sous Juan Martinez, the restaurant is a rarity in this transient valley. The chef has managed to keep 95 percent of his staff during his tenure, which speaks volumes about how much fun it is to work there. That feeling naturally carries over to the folks in the dining room.

Swimmingly good

Chap’s is a chophouse that plays well with others ” fish, pasta, salad. It would be a shame to miss out on the meat, but the seafood is downright seductive. Try starting with a crab beignet topped with Meyer lemon creme fraiche. This is the Southern belle of crab cakes: delicate and well formed with sudden feisty flashes of character. A well-placed oomph of spice keeps it lively. On an extravagant night, butter-poached lobster and sauteed sweet corn is on the specials list. Butter and lobster are famous friends, but this takes it a step further. “You have to poach it low and slow,” says Beichner. “The butter infuses into the lobster.” Pair it with a St. Supery chardonnay from Napa and egads, the butter theme continues. There are lighter options from the sea, too, such as the cedar-planked salmon and grilled Alaskan halibut.

Oh, the decadence

You could almost fill up on the scent of the lamb alone. The garlicky aroma forms a cloud around the chops that offers sustenance even before that first bite. Basil oil adds its own signature zing. “The local lamb we can buy is so superior to what most people in the United States eat it’s hilarious,” Beichner says. “This is beautiful lamb that’s been running around grazing on sagebrush.” And it tastes like it. Once you dive in there’s no turning back. Even the most well-behaved person will need to pick up the bone and gnaw on it. The signature meat dish continues to be the bison rib-eye. “It’s so good and it goes so well with a nice, big red,” Beichner says. “In the summertime that’s what I love.” Summer is the season to be outside, a belief that’s underscored by Chap’s mountain view, river-side location and the occasional bit of char on a big, juicy steak.

SIDEBAR

In addition to the regular menu, there’s a special menu for the summer-long $35/3-course special.

Chap’s Grill and Chophouse

Cascade Resort, West Vail

970.476.7111

vailcascade.com


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