Somewhere along the way French restaurants picked up a white-glove reputation, but La Tour is fun.
The Vail restaurant has long been a place to enjoy beautifully prepared cuisine in a cozily chic dining room, served by a warm and knowledgable staff. But this is no place to be reserved solely for special occasions. La Tour should be visited often.
I’ve stopped in for a quick bite, and I’ve spent the evening eating my way through the menu. I recommend both approaches.
Chef-owner Paul Ferzacca, Chef de Cuisine Brett Villarmia and Sous Chef Philip Oswalt have collaborated on a menu that strikes a balance between classic and adventurous.
After a cocktail, I recommend starting with the beef tartare appetizer. Served only in the winter, the flavor fills the entire mouth. Both pungent and mellow, the tender beef leaves a rich aftertaste. Sommelier Paul DiMario made a lively pairing with Tamarack Cellars’ Firehouse Red.
Other sure bets include the escargots in sauce persillee, a meaty standard, and the lobster bisque with a deeply roasted flavor, generous with the shellfish.
Ferzacca and his staff are easily excited by quality products. The night I was in, a fresh shipment of truffles inspired a savory dish of pan-seared scallops crowning an over-the-top truffled rissotto.
Paired with a glass of Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet white Burgundy, it was my first experience with true scallop-love.
The current menu includes a few subtle Asian flavors, married seamlessly to classic French products.
The decadent beef tenderloin with foie gras mushroom bread pudding is served with a lemongrass au poivre sauce.
For those loyal to tradition, La Tour’s Dover sole meuniere melts on the tongue with delicate almost-sweetness. Leave room for dessert.
Though I usually go for the cheese plate, chocolate fiends won’t want to miss the Valrhona chocolate tart. A creamier, richer chocolate experience doesn’t exist.
For those who don’t feel like sitting in the dining room, there’s a new grazing menu in the bar area.