Feast on flavors from around the world at the Blue Plate in Avon (Video) | VailDaily.com

Feast on flavors from around the world at the Blue Plate in Avon (Video)

Melanie Grangaard | Special to the Daily

Editor's note: This article was previously published as a paid feature in EAT, a compendium of restaurant snapshots featuring the best in Vail Valley dining. Look for it on newsstands everywhere.

By Melanie Grangaard
Special to the Daily

Adam Roustom has spent hours on the phone with his mom, arguing about the best way to serve Syrian eggplant casserole. His mother, who spent 20 years in Damascus, says it should be cooked and presented traditionally, with the yogurt sauce as the topping. Adam Roustom, the chef-owner of The Blue Plate, believes its layers should be reordered to be more appealing to the eye when served to guests, tucking the yogurt layer inside the dish. This man really cares about his food, and each decision, whether it is relating to a filet mignon steak or the house-made linguine in Bolognese sauce, is crafted with as much forethought and intention.

Only serving items that he enjoys to cook and eat, chef Adam Roustom and his wife, Elli, who manages the front of house, have developed a menu of "Americana food" for their Avon restaurant. As the chef explains, Americana food embraces the home-cooked favorites of the many, many cultures that have settled in America — which explains why the restaurant with the best schnitzel in town also happens to serve the best meatloaf (as a special) and hummus (every day). And word to the wise: don't skip the flavorful beet dip with its vibrant color or Elli Roustom's favorite, the delectable cheese spaetzle — with caramelized onions, Gruyere and greens— which is a nod to her Austrian heritage.

Just like the owners, who frequently take a few minutes to greet and catch up with guests who they remember by name, the cuisine is approachable, and even the menu's more exotic dishes are hospitable. The Casablanca Mussels, for example, which are bathed in a sauce of white wine, Moroccan spices, pickled lemons and garlic, taste somehow familiar. Adam Roustom obviously puts a lot of care and attention detail into each dish, such as the Syrian eggplant casserole, which allows him to present it favorably for all palates and yet keep its traditional integrity.

Located in the heart of Avon, Blue Plate is family-friendly, with small plates — don't miss happy hour, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., with small plate and specials — and full-size entrees, as well as a large wine and cocktail array, soups, salads and desserts. The welcoming environment and range of flavors is impressive — who knew the humble meatloaf could leave such a lasting impression? — and will leave guests coming back for more.