Eating at the Westside Cafe
WEST VAIL It’s Thursday night and you’re just getting off work or finishing up a mountain bike ride or even rolling into town for a pleasant evening with some friends…you are hungry and you want something good. Maybe you want to get all dressed up and maybe you don’t, but you definitely want to feel relaxed and satisfied coming away from your dining experience. If this sounds familiar, then check out the Westside Cafe and Market. Fairly new to the valley, the Westside Cafe offers a great place to eat as well and feel at ease. Still in the process of some changes, mainly with regards to the decor, the menu is extensive and offers a taste that is fine tuned. “Our goal is to provide great food at a reasonable price, in an atmosphere that is comfortable for everyone,” said Mike Dennis, managing partner. Having begun his work at the restaurant last December with enthusiasm and drive, Dennis hopes that the locals will find they can come in at any time, breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and get something they want. Additionally, he hopes the visiting tourists also will enjoy an easy-going atmosphere that they can share with their family and their friends. “We’re real excited about it,” said Dennis. “I’ve worked in so many fine restaurants in the valley and coming here and starting from scratch has been a real challenge and very rewarding.” He hopes the public will enjoy themselves, he added, and have fun at their restaurant.When the Dancing Bear of West Vail closed its doors last year, many felt that nothing could take its place. But the Westside Cafe and Market has risen to the challenge. And hoping to continue the tradition of bagels in West Vail, the cafe provides fresh, homemade, salt-water soaked bagels to their customers each and every morning. Along with an extensive breakfast menu offering a handful of classics, omelets and skillets, griddled greats and even some healthy stuff, the cafe offers an even greater lunch and dinner menu that will make your mouth water. They also plan to run a full service deli, in addition to the dining room for lunchtime, that will provide quick and hearty lunch selections for those on the go – something we can all appreciate. Also appreciative is that the restaurant provides an ambiance that is neither too elegant nor too casual and it is down-to-earth and easy-going. However, that is not to say that the food follows suit. The dishes are fancy and delicious – which is not surprising considering the staff’s background in the restaurant industry. The Westside Cafe has quite a track record and I was pleasantly surprised with the selection. Mike Dennis is truly a restaurant man and he knows exactly what he is doing. Having worked and managed at both Beaver Creek’s Splendido and at Vail’s Sweet Basil, Dennis has the knack for great food. And with so many items to choose from, I had some difficulty deciding. I finally started with a beautiful summer salad, full of fresh berries, toasted walnuts, gorgonzola and a raspberry vinaigrette, that whetted my appetite for the entree. The salad was just the right size and I enjoyed it very much. I chose the mahi-mahi as my main dish. The white fish was served over a bed of rice topped with cilantro-lime butter and a mango salsa. The mango salsa added a pleasant zest to the mild fish.Looking across the table, I sat and watched my dinner companion; he was obviously enjoying the chicken parmesan fettucini that he’d ordered, and I wanted a taste. We traded plates for a few minutes and I too delighted in his dish. The chef obviously knows what he’s doing.He knows dessert, too. We ended our meal with a generous serving of brownie topped with fabulous ice cream and chocolate sauce. It was the devil, and I loved it.The Westside Cafe and Market made for a very pleasant evening. I left feeling fulfilled and excited to try out their breakfast menu some morning before a nice day ride or hike, and I look forward to the changes they plan on making to the interior. From food to service to pricing, the only thing that needs tweaking is the decor.Vail Colorado
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