Globally inspired cuisine at Grouse Mountain Grill
Grouse Mountain Grill has long been a staple on Beaver Creek’s dining scene. Perched slopeside with a gorgeous view, owner-operators Dan and Doris Schoenfelder remain committed to threading the needle between easy comfort and upscale service. And though Grouse is known for several signature dishes, they’ve brought in a new chef with two-star Michelin restaurant experience — and it shows.
You can still get the pretzel-crusted pork chop, lobster mascarpone tower and gourmet tater tots, all of which are synonymous with Grouse Mountain Grill for many. But after spending the summer season getting a feel for the rhythm of the restaurant, Executive Chef Frank Blea has brought in some fun and exciting new dishes.
“Grouse has deep roots, but it’s my job to have new growth,” the chef said. “I want to be a new sprout, if you will, for the legacy of Grouse Mountain Grill and catapult the brand to continue to grow in this valley.”
Chef Blea’s new salmon crudo appetizer is one such example. Initially inspired by his love of lox, he’s gone in a new, unexpected direction with the dish. Served with lemon beets, honey crème fraiche, pickled shallots and toasted quinoa, there’s diversity in both textures and flavors.
“It’s one that I’ve been experimenting with for quite some time,” he said. “I’ve learned different aspects of curing the salmon a certain way. It’s a beautiful dish, and very nice fish, but something I really love because it’s from my brain.”
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Another fun starter is the pork belly, its delicious richness compounded by hoisin. Bok choy kimchi, cucumbers and shishito peppers offer contrast to the umami-rich meat and keep it all in balance.
On the entrée side of things, the dry-aged duck is a standout.
“The duck dish is pretty neat,” acknowledged the chef. “You get the pleasure of having the entire duck: the pan-seared breast as well as confit made with the rest.”
Served with an orange demi, root vegetables and sesame seeds, it’s both playful and satisfying. Another great option is the New York Mishima reserve steak, served with bearnaise, haricot vert and truffle-whipped potato.
“It’s American Wagyu, and I love the story of them bringing in Wagyu from Japan and breeding them with Angus,” he says. “It’s raised in Cortez, Colorado, and is such a great product.”
Blea grew up in culturally diverse San Diego, California. Part of a military family, he ate meat and potatoes at home, but absorbed all of the variety Southern California had to offer. Raised by a single father, he started cooking at an early age for his brothers — all four of them.
“I think cooking for my brothers, and watching them be so satisfied by something simple, really made me love to bring enjoyment to guests,” he said.
He also likes how difficult it was in the beginning, and how committed he had to be to excel. It kept his interest, and fueled his creativity. And now he enjoys sharing what he knows with other chefs.
“I love to pass on what I’ve learned,” he said. “Growing up, I had my brothers to look at, to see that we all brought something different to the table. That’s how it is — we’re all a little bit different.” And that keeps it fun.
141 Scott Hill Road
The Pines Lodge, Beaver Creek
Appetizers start at $12;
entrées start at $42
Globally influenced fine dining with classic mountain ambiance
Pretzel-crusted Sakura Duroc pork chop with honey-dijon cream sauce, grit cake and charred broccolini