La Tour’s mid-day magic in Vail
Contemporary French cuisine
Lunch begins daily at 11:30 a.m., Sunday brunch at 10 a.m., Dinner nightly at 5:30 p.m.
122 East Meadow Drive
For reservations or information, call 970-476-4403, or go to latour-vail.com.
You’ve waited 40 years to have lunch at La Tour, so sit down and relax. You’ll feel yourself decompress.
Then recompress if you must; they can get you in and out in about 45 minutes, but it’d be a sin to wolf down food this good.
Paul and Lourdes Ferzacca have been with La Tour for about 15 years. They bought it from Marie-Claire and Walter Moritz, who founded Vail’s La Tour restaurant in the late 1960s. They’ve never served lunch … until now, and it’s worth the wait.
The idea began to take hold when they started with apres ski last winter, Paul said. They had to bring in the crew anyway to prep for that. So as long as they were there, they might as well prep for dinner. While they were there they decided to take a run at lunch. Their weekend brunch has been wildly successful. The contemporary French cuisine that has made La Tour one of the valley’s best choices for dinner is uncompromised at lunch.
If you can, sit outside and enjoy the spacious deck on a warm day. Occasionally you’ll look inside because … well … La Tour is in there and it’s great. Before long you’ll feel yourself relaxing and gazing around Vail, which is also pretty great.
Vegetables are planted around the edge of the deck, and they’ll use some of them in your lunch that day.
You’ll scan the menu and maybe make a few of your own suggestions, but eventually you’ll do the sensible thing and recite the mantra, “In these guys we trust.” They’ll help you look good, whether it’s a business lunch or you’re about the more important business of trying to impress someone worth impressing.
Daniel was our server. Ferzacca and his assistant Oliver Philpott sent out some lunch samples and we ate ourselves to Nirvana.
They started us with Prince Edward Island Mussels. They come in a red curry coconut broth with cilantro, mint and basil.
In the middle of the table they placed their Hibachi BBQ Oysters, prepared in butter, garlic, parsley, bacon, parmigiano-reggiano and lemon.
We marveled at how it could be so flavorful and light. We still managed to overeat, but not so much that we wouldn’t enjoy the main courses — which we did.
Somewhere on this page is a photo of Paul Ferzacca smiling with the three dishes they decided we’d enjoy for the main course; braised beef short rib tartine, pan roasted Skuna Bay salmon salad and pork belly carbonara. Paul is smiling like he and Philpott have created something wonderful, which of course they have.
The beef short rib is their equivalent of a burger and costs about the same as an upscale burger anywhere else. But the comparisons end there because nothing else is close, and also because it’s not ground beef. It’s served with roasted tomatoes, king trumpet mushrooms, pickled red onion, watercress, brioche, Roquefort cheese fondue and aged balsamic. It’s beef lovers’ paradise.
The pork belly carbonara is spaghetti topped with a 140-degree egg, sugar snap peas, parmigiano-reggiano and cream. The pork is house cured and the egg takes 40 minutes to cook to perfection. Cut up the egg and mix it into the pasta. Fork a bit of pork, roll up the spaghetti and make your insides happy.
That leaves the Skuna Bay salmon salad, but don’t leave it for last because your partner won’t leave any for you. They explained how they prepare the salmon, but we were too busy enjoying it to write it down. What we do know is that it was served with watercress, jicama, oranges, cumin almonds, red fresno chile and avocado vinaigrette. We also know you’ll love it.
Dessert. You must have dessert. If the world ended tomorrow, you won’t want to go to the next world wishing you’d had dessert today.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.