La Tour, Vail, French cuisine
Vail CO, Colorado
122 E. Meadow Drive
Walk into La Tour and you might see one of the chefs eating in the dining room on his day off. That’s because the chefs at the New American-French restaurant only prepare what they want to eat. And if you’ve ever dined there yourself, you know they have very good palates. Voted Vail’s best restaurant two years running in the readers’ choice poll, La Tour’s service is attentive, the food is inventive and the ambiance is warmer than the weather.
“Simplicity is the mother of beauty.” Chef-owner Paul Ferzacca has repeated this line so much it’s ingrained in the brains of chef du cuisine Bill Messick and sous chef Timothy Wastell. “So we make simple, good food,” explained Messick.
Of course, “simple” food to them is the clean flavors of beef carpaccio marinated for two days in an herb-heavy mixture, seared, and sliced fresh daily to be served with a zippy tapenade and quail eggs en croute. But you get the gist: don’t overdo it.
They continue to serve well seasoned and innovative cuisine that’s approachable. The black cod is a bestseller, served in a tower that includes fried green tomatoes, tomatoes confit and polenta cakes. Just because it’s fish doesn’t mean it’s not rich; black cod is called butter fish for a reason, and it literally melts in your mouth. “We have more time to play around and create in the summer,” said Wastell. “We’re definitely not taking any shortcuts.”
Beverage Director Paul DiMario has created a wine list for casual sippers and serious imbibers. Half of his bottles come from France, and he can educate you in layman’s terms about the wine you’re drinking.
He enjoys bringing out unfamiliar and mysterious wines for the daring, but has plenty of well known labels for those who wish to stick with a sure thing. He’s really added to the half bottle selection, so it’s easier to pair by the course.
“We’ve always been on the edge of Italy,” said chef-owner Paul Ferzacca about the menu. This summer they go over the edge with handmade pastas and silky sauces.
The hand-shaped agnolotti and carefully stuffed ravioli lend themselves to the fresh produce that summer brings. They change the pasta special a couple times a week. For starters, try the apricot salad with an oozing slice of brie and macadamia nut vinaigrette.
And since they’re a Colorado restaurant, you can always find Colorado lamb in the menu. The preparation varies, but they nail it every time.