Lord Gore A Vail tradition: the Lord Gore
GOLDEN PEAK ” There’s only one word to describe Lord Gore Restaurant ” legendary.
From its panoramic views to its classic cuisine served table-side to its staff of colorful characters famous for their own stories, Lord Gore Restaurant is one Vail staple that’s actually held on to its tradition.
“It’s one of the few restaurants left from the days when Vail first opened,” said Lord Gore Manager Andre Boesel, who’s lived in Vail for 33 years.
The menu’s entrees haven’t changed much since Lord Gore’s inception, but when you’ve found something that works, you stick with it.
“We try to change the menu, but guests always ask us to put back on what we’ve taken off,” said Richard Wade, Lord Gore’s executive chef of 26 years. Wade attended culinary school in Ireland, from where he hails, and continued school in Switzerland, where he learned to ski like a pro. Cooking has taken him throughout Europe, and it’s Wade who gives Lord Gore’s cuisine its authentic Old World style.
For starters, Wade recommends trying the escargots ($8) because it isn’t prepared in the standard garlic butter sauce. He makes the snails with wild morel mushrooms in a boursin cream sauce.
The crab cakes ($9), another must-sample, are served with pickled ginger and a wasabi cream sauce, and when eaten together, is a true fusion of flavors.
“I like food with sauces. When I go out to eat, I’m always looking for sauces,” said Wade.
The Caesar salad ($9 per person) is prepared table-side for two by your server, which is a perfect opportunity for diners to dive into conversation with the staff ” some of Vail’s most interesting locals ” like Jebbie Browne, who has “Jeb’s Deck” on Vail Mountain to show for her 27 years of dedication at ski school. The deck can be seen while riding the Avanti Lift.
With over 110 years of combined cooking experience between Wade, Gunther Schmidt and Cory Montross, and the rest of the culinary team, like Mike Matthews, having graduated from a professional program, any entree you choose will be stellar. But the house specialties that have stood the test of time are the rack of Colorado lamb ($58 for two), roasted with a pecan crust, and the chateaubriand “bouquetiere” ($56 for two), a roasted tenderloin of beef, both which are served table-side.
“The specials are a good choice, too, because they are always considerably different than the other entrees on the menu. The specials allow me to be more creative,” said Wade.
I opted for the mahi-mahi special ($23), a light fish crusted with sesame and served with a soy ginger vinaigrette. There are usually two seafood options on the special menu.
Lord Gore offers 10 wines by the glass each night and a selection of bottles mostly from California, but also abroad from Spain and Argentina.
“People know what wine costs these days, I try to make it affordable,” said Boesel, who compiles the wine selection. Boesel is a legend in his own right, so when asking him to pair wine with a meal, also ask him about his endurance-race adventures. He’s won several, including the Eco Challenge in 1998, the World’s Toughest Triathlon and the Mountainman Winter Triathlon, three times over. But don’t ask him to race you, even though he’s retired from competition, he’ll still beat you.
A room with a view
Any seat in the Lord Gore dining room is a good seat. Huge picture windows frame Golden Peak ski area and diners can watch as the snowcats groom the slopes. In the summer, fireworks explode into view.
“It’s one of the few places that you have a view in Vail. Most of the places are locked up. You can see the seasons change on Gold Peak from our windows,” said Boesel.
Connected to Ford Park by a walking path, Lord Gore is the ideal place to grab a bite to eat before the many summer concerts at Ford Amphitheater. Even if there isn’t enough time for a full dinner, people can sit in the Fitz Williams, the Lord Gore’s piano bar, and have a cocktail before the show.
Steven Edwards has tended bar at the Fitz Williams for 14 years. He knows his elixirs, and he knows his music, just ask him, he could talk shop about musicians for hours. But while he’s chatting, ask him to mix up a margarita ” his is the best in the valley.
The Fitz Williams is also a popular destination for apres ski with its over-sized soft chairs and warm fireplace. Located across the street from ski school, instructors with their clients frequent the lounge for $2 draft beers and half-price appetizers everyday from 3-5 p.m.
Lord Gore is where all Vail’s living legends seem to gravitate. It must be the restaurant’s ability to hold on to its quintessential laid-back mountain town personality, even through all of Vail’s changes.