Dishing it up: Bogart’s Bar and Bistro
Schnazzy martinis, a comfortable room, flavorful apps and a far-reaching menu – the combination is bound to work for Bogart’s Bar and Bistro in Vail. Occupying the old Hubcap space in Crossroads, the new interior and menu is a whole different ball game.
In the summertime, the front of the restaurant is open to the breezey warmth, so folks get to experience the elements while knocking back a cocktail or munching on a sandwich.
Photographer Bret Hartman and I stopped in for post-work drinks and snacks Wednesday. We agonized over the martini list, 95-drinks strong. He dove into his favorite, a very dirty vodka martini, served with jalapeno and garlic stuffed olives. I went for a frivolous caramel apple martini, with vodka and sour apple and butterscotch schnapps. The apple struck first, with the caramel essence only revealing itself in the finish. It was tasty, and indicative of the martini menus playful menu – banana bomb, chocolate sweetie, peanut butter and jelly. On Wednesdays, martinis are $3 a pop.
When Adam Hand wandered over from Montauk looking for a few part-time hours, it was serendipitous for everyone (except Montauk, who lost a great line chef). Hand was on the opening teams for Grouse Mountain Grill, Chap’s, Bagali’s, Gore Range Brewery and Sapphire. A Culinary Institute of America grad, he’s at home in the kitchen.
“Bogart’s a fun place to be a chef,” said Hand. “The better the quality of food, the better quality the client.”
The menu reflects a bit of Mexican influence, from the roasted duck quesadillas ($8.95) to the smoked gouda and onion empanada ($6.95) on the apps menu.
“I’ve got a lot of Mexican guys working in the kitchen,” said Hand. “It makes sense to draw from their talents, too.”
We tried the goat cheese cake ($7.95) crusted with walnuts and served with taro crisps and field greens. Drizzled with balsamic vinegar reductions, it was both creamy and tangy – a great starter. Hand’s own favorite is the potato skins ($6.95), oozing stinky cambozola and bacon.
“We’re really trying to fill a niche here,” said Hand. “Right now, there’s no place for restaurant people to go out for a couple of cocktails and a bite to eat after work. We want to be a locals place.”
For bigger appetites, they serve such items as baby back ribs ($11.95), pasta-less vegetable lasagna ($13.95) and ham, asparagus and brie-stuffed chicken breast ($13.95). They also have a “build your own burger” section. In addition to choosing from various exotic and domestic toppings, you get to choose your burger – beef, Boca or turkey.
The grilled ahi tuna and portabella sandwich ($10.95) on an almost-sweet Kaiser roll gets a hefty kick from the chipotle aioli. Topped with crispy onions, the sandwich dishes out the best of both worlds: it demands two hands and eats like a burger, but it’s heart-healthy fish and vegetables.
“We really want to cater to the people who live here,” said Hand. “Lots of us are health conscious. We do fresh fish specials, too. Just trying to mix it up – keep it interesting for ourselves and our clients.”
Hopefully he won’t change the caramelized banana brownie ($5.95), served with a fanned strawberry and vanilla ice cream. It’s a good mix of fruit and chocolate. And this from a non-dessert person.
Bogart’s is kid-friendly, and the deck is dog-friendly. There are four televisions in the bar area, and they’re not afraid of watching football. Monday Night Football means .50-cent wings.
They’re looking to expand to breakfast and late-late night, but for now they open daily at noon. They have live music on Friday nights starting at 9:30 p.m. Today, the Harry Baxter Band plays. For more information or to make reservations call the restaurant at 476-7800.
Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.