Minturn Country Club
“Are you a member?” You might get this question when you arrive, but don’t fret. If you’ve found your way to the front door, you’re automatically a member of the Minturn Country Club. And if you’ve come with a sense of humor, you get star treatment. The restaurant isn’t just a steakhouse; it’s a grill-it-yourself steakhouse. After finding your table and nibbling an appetizer, mosey over to the butcher case to pick your passion. The “butcher” will dispense grilling advice with whatever you choose, and will also take your order for sides. Make sure you get a twice-baked potato, and don’t think you should share it. Steamed broccoli, sweet potato fries and skillet-grilled veggies round out the options.
The atmosphere may be kick back, but the butcher case is serious business. Never have you seen so many beautiful red steaks lined up so orderly. Filet mignon marches down one tray (yes, so fresh it moves), boneless rib-eye on another. The prime New York strip is a special cut, but it’s the bone-in rib-eye that promises to be the darling of the winter season. Cooking the meat on the bone imparts more flavor, so the well marbled steak promises happy carnivores. For those who don’t want steak, there’s teriyaki chicken, salmon, scallops, kebabs ” nobody’s going hungry.
There are two grills in the restaurant. If you’ve forgotten your instructions, there’s advice on the wall. Your server might wander by with your wine and top you off; you’ll probably start chatting with other strangers. Bragging about your grilling prowess is allowed, though you might get heckled for it. Kids love the grilling concept. Instead of being held hostage at the table, strapped in by good manners, they get to wander from the table to the grill, stretch their legs and blow off steam. This is good for everyone.
Once you make it back to the table with your creation, your sides magically appear. This continues to enthrall me. Even if your group returns to the table in stages, the sides appear in stages ” still piping hot and perfectly cooked. This underscores the intuitive nature of the servers, who run sassy, sweet and funny. All are genuine. Many of them have logged some serious time at the restaurant. Ed Lawn treats everyone like family, and he’s been there 22 years. Josh McCracken and TJ Ricci have done serious time, too.
Save room for dessert, and look no further than the Minturn tater. Resembling a baked potato loaded with sour cream, it’s ice cream filled with pieces of chocolate cookies, dusted with sweetened cocoa powder, and topped with whipped cream.