Mirabelle’s still rules Vail Valley | VailDaily.com

Mirabelle’s still rules Vail Valley

Shane Macomber/Vail DailyDaniel Joly, left, stands tall with his Mirabelle kitchen staff at the base of Beaver Creek.
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It’s official, Mirabelle’s is still the best restaurant in the Vail Valley.The Mobil Travel Guide gave the restaurant just inside the Beaver Creek gates a four-star rating. It also won the unqualified approval of the toughest critic I know, my 13-year-old daughter, Morgan.”It’s way five-star,” said Morgan Wyrick, who has been hauled to haute fare eateries since she was a toddler and subscribes to both “Gourmet” and “Bon Appetit” magazines.Family traditionMirabelle’s was one of Beaver Creek’s original buildings, a family farmhouse, beautifully refurbished into one of the area’s most charming restaurant settings. The feel you get is a combination between dining in one of the world’s most elegant restaurants, which is true, and being as comfortable as you would in your mother’s dining room, which is also true. It’s Daniel and Natalie Joly’s family business, and relaxing in their restaurant is like taking a seat in your best friend’s living room. They want what’s best for you, and you’re in the right place to get it.Daniel has proven himself in Vail and Beaver Creek, and most of the rest of the world.

Daniel keeps seven people in his kitchen. “If you have good people, it’s easier to do good work,” he says.Colorado’s culinary geniusWhen he was 14, he followed his passion into the kitchen. He never left.By 1988, he was named the best young chef in Belgium. He headed to the United States in 1989, landing in South Carolina about the time Hurricane Hugo swept through. In 1991, he brought his artistry to Vail and helped make the valley a culinary destination.The young chef has been featured at food and wine festivals in California, New York City and the rest of the country, and of course, nightly in Beaver Creek. “When people think about great food, they think of Colorado,” said Joly.Joly, like most successful Vail Valley professionals, knows how good people have it who live and visit here.

“We’re very lucky here. We have good food and good people,” he said.Everything all the timeMirabelle’s offers breath-taking European cuisine, but this IS America and we want everything. The only problem is making a choice.Be seated and indulge in the recommendations of your server and chef. Daniel, of course, is the chef. Bill was not just A server, but more like our guide on a culinary cruise, the like of which you may never experience again. Throw yourself on the mercy of their artistic discretion and enjoy world-class and world-renowned dining. You’re in good hands.Delicious, pretty little dishes – appetizers – are all the rage in the restaurant world these days, and Mirabelle’s offers the finest for diminutive tastes. Bill started us with pumpkin flan with baby lobster. The sauteed European langoustine was subtly accented with the pumpkin flan and sage tempura. The light sweetness is a perfect combination with the grilled lobster.The grilled swordfish ON artichoke puree with wine reduction sauce was Bill’s next suggestion. Artichoke isn’t necessarily the first thing one considers in partnership with swordfish, but Joly pulls it off brilliantly. The artichoke puree and fish combine to make this a particularly satisfying seafood dish. The wine reduction sauce is an exotic surprise.A roasted chicken breast with star anise fresh vegetables is moistened with a FRESH chicken broth. Like all genius, it’s both uncomplicated and fantastic, a dish found at the intersection where comfort food meets gourmet.

The roasted garlic rack of lamb with truffles is a classic in both its elegance and subtle flavor, hinting at flavors of the Mediterranean.Mirabelle’s offers a symphony of desserts. Their own pastry chef makes irresistible confections fresh each day, including their gourmet ice cream.We sampled an array of desserts, and while they’re all delightful conclusions to an excellent meal, we were partial to the creme brulee. The cola industry, with its new sodas, is buying up much of the available vanilla supply, but Daniel and Natalie continue to obtain the finest Caribbean and use it to create exquisite creme brulee.If the quest for the perfect creme brulee is a sort of spiritual and dining quest, Mirabelle’s creme brulee is the Holy Grail.For those in search of a sophisticated yet comfortable dessert, try the apple crumble.At the Vail Valley’s top-rated restaurant, the dilemma is determining what to leave out, not what you want.You will want everything.Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 615, or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.Vail Colorado