Edwards new eatery, Matthews, offers American food with a California twist | VailDaily.com

Edwards new eatery, Matthews, offers American food with a California twist

Sarah MausolfVail, CO, Colorado
AE Matthews TS 11-29-07 002

When spouses Matt and Elena Jones opened Matthews earlier this month in Edwards, they envisioned casual, fine dining.That sounds like an oxymoron just how laid back does gourmet get? But after a trip to the restaurant it makes sense.White tablecloths, hanging light fixtures and a prominent wine rack scream elegance, but this is a no-jackets-only joint.One customer sports a flannel shirt a la Al from Home Improvement while another appears to be wearing snowpants.The owners encourage jeans and tempered the upscale decor with down-home touches like a fireplace and a TV at the bar.The food is comfortable and the service is comfortable, Elena said. I want people to feel comfortable too, no matter what theyre wearing.

Along with a sweeping makeover, what distinguishes Matthews from its predecessor, The Mustang Bar and Grill, is the food.Its a completely different menu, Matt said. They were steak and fries and we are filet mignon with barnaise and sauted asparagus.Matthews features American food with a dose of California style. Previously a head chef for Lancelot and Billys Island Grill, Matt said he picked up the West Coast touches during visits to his sister in California.Customers can thank that states Hawaiian and Pacific Rim influences for dishes like the Gigantic Coconut Shrimp Pad Thai with Dipping Sauces. With a choice of Thai peanut and chili sauces, the meal will delight anyone with a condiment fetish.One of the eaterys signature dishes the bacon-wrapped filet comes stacked atop mashed potatoes and costs $31.Matthews is one of those places where diners obsess over the bread. A honey-chive butter compels customers to scarf down so much bread they embarass their dates.Likewise, the appetizers wooed a trio of men at the bar who were checking out the new vibe in town.The tuna sashimi was really, really good, Edwards resident George Stelling said. I am looking forward to trying the rest of the menu.Along with the tuna, he raved about the calamari with citrus cherry pepper chardonnay sauce.It was the best calamari Ive ever had out here, he said. The sauce was really good. It was not the standard calamari you usually have.

To compliment the food, the Jones consulted with local sommeliers to create the wine list. Laced with quirky headers such as soft & supple and kiss of sweetness, the wine menu soon will include maps indicating where wines originate.Created with Wine Spectator magazines standards in mind, the list includes about 75 wines from across the globe, including 11 served by the glass. Owners hope to add another 20 varieties by Christmas.I try to diversify by grape and region, Elena said, noting shell take requests from regulars. If they have a favorite wine, dont be afraid to speak up.

More than 100 people attended the eaterys grand opening Friday, Nov. 23 and the dining room has been full every night since, Matt said. To ratchet up the service, servers wear buzzers that go off when meals are ready.The kitchen is open from 6 to 10 p.m. seven days per week while the bar operates from 5 p.m. to close. Owners plan to start serving lunch Monday, Dec. 10.For the husband and wife team behind Matthews, the restaurants opening fullfilled a longtime dream.Ive been working on it my whole career to do this and I finally got it together with the family, Matt said, noting his wife signed on as general manager. It was just the perfrect timing with the beginning of the winter.Matt said he looks forward to creating his own schedule so he can pencil in more time with his 3-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter.With the demise of the Mustang Bar and Grill, this slot in the Edwards Village Plaza center on Edwards Access Road has ushered in a new era.Former Mustang regulars say Matthews is more tranquil than its predecessor.Its nice and quiet, Stelling said. You can actually come in and have a conversation. Its not the normal hooplah that were used to.Edwards resident Bruce Lord, a Boston native who enjoyed a bottle of Shiraz-Viognier and some calamari, agreed the atmosphere has shifted.You cant go in and say Hey man! How are you! and do a shot of Jager[meister] and have a cocktail, he said. Its like my mom and grandmom always told me: Sh!Arts & Entertainment Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 748-2938 or smausolf@vaildaily.com.

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