Mirador: view from the top | VailDaily.com

Mirador: view from the top

Laura A. Ball
Shane Macomber/Vail DailyChef Fabrice Beaudoin's culinary knowledge can be traced in every morsel of his complex creations.

In a palace tucked into the snowy Cordillera hillside, high above the twinkling lights of Edwards, a delicious journey through the passionate creations of renowned chef Fabrice Beaudoin awaits your senses.

The luxurious and elusive setting presents a spectacular view parallel to the Beaudoin’s vision of harmonious culinary ensembles from scratch with the finest components.

My date and I sat in comfortable high-back chairs in the old-world European style space, surrounded by fabulous paintings and ornate decor. The crackling fireplace and warm aura romanced us, only to discover superior service and a savory feast.

The restaurant, formerly Picasso’s, changed its name and its ideals simultaneously. Beaudoin said he wanted freedom from monotony and the concept of Mirador provided the perfect vehicle for his vision.

“We tried to change things to be more inviting,” Beaudoin said. “We want to keep the quality of the food. Quality is going to be here.”

Beaudoin expressed his vision of Mirador to put forth a free-spirited character, with a menu catering to a variety of palettes, and full of unexpected dishes. The menu now offers a wide array of cuisine, allowing patrons to select from small plates, medium plates, large plates and sweet plates.

“I like it because you can come in and if you’re not really hungry, you can get a small plate, or a small plate and a sweet plate. And if you’re hungry, you can get a medium plate and a large plate,” Beaudoin said.

Beaudoin has been gracing Cordillera’s eatery with his culinary expertise for 14 years.

“He’s a fabulous chef. I actually heard about him at my culinary school in New York,” said the outgoing Ashleigh Scanlan, restaurant manager.

Beaudoin’s knowledge can be traced in every morsel, as the complexity of the dish creates an orchestra of flavors and responses as you masticate into bliss.

Our server brought out fresh popcorn with white truffle oil sprinkled with parmesan to snack on. Followed by fresh round rolls with a texture so irresistible even my date broke his “no bread” rule. The rolls were served with butter, olive oil and peppered butter in a neat dish separating the three, much like the salt and pepper with a tiny wooden spoon, with zen-like character. And we sipped Beaulieu Vineyard 2001 Cabarnet Shiraz blend from the extensive global selections to prepare for our tasting. But all this was only a hint of what was to come.

The chef then served up various small plates, every bite of which sent my taste buds soaring. The lobster bisque served with asparagus succotash ($6) bursted with flavor and the lobster crisp.

The calamari frito with roasted olives and balsamic cured vegetables ($6) proved to be much more than a standard tidbit, with contrasting sweet and tangy seasonings.

Linguini with little neck clams and diced prosciutto ($6) was a comforting delicacy.

To cleanse and lighten our palettes, our server recommended a crisp Simi chardonnay with the food, a sensational match with the light, fresh starters.

From the medium plates, the ahi tuna tartar with kunamoto oysters with seaweed salad and wasabi creme fraiche ($12) tasted as if it had just been pulled out of the sea. And the mixed green salad with avocado, cured tomato, asparagus, orange and grapefruit segments with smoked tomato vinaigrette ($8.50) refreshed us.

But this was just the outset.

Our large plates were served, and before I put the food to my lips to taste decadence or relished the neat presentation, I inhaled its divine aroma. It’s hard to imagine that the artful presentation would taste as good as it looked. It tasted better.

The steaming seared red snapper filet soaked up a tomato finger and preserved lemon compote, grilled asparagus and golden oak mushroom couscous ($26) was the perfect match.

My date dined on the applewood smoked Colorado lamb with pears and squash in a red bell pepper sauce ($38.50), a tender and melt-in-your-mouth delicacy.

Equally savory and satisfying are the seared venison tenderloin ($33), angus beef filet mignon ($37), mirin glazed trout filet ($24), tempura rare ahi tuna ($29).

The bill of fare changes with the season, allowing guests to feast on the freshest fare imaginable specific to nature’s whims.

The culmination of the meal arrived with the sumptuous sweet plates. The Madagascar vanilla bean creme brulee topped with berries is a specialty and an absolute must at Mirador. The banana foster martini lasted only about 30 seconds.

The Graham’s 40-year port made for a delicious accompaniment to our dessert.

And if you like chocolate, the bittersweet chocolate molten cake is for you, rich and satiating (if that’s possible). Also sweet, the meyer lemon meringue and apple rhubarb crisp offer up shades of the fruitful (all $6.50).

If you aren’t there to dine, pose yourself in the lobby sipping on wine or indulging in the let the fire warm you while Peter Vavra soothes your ears on a Friday or Saturday evening.

The restaurant’s wine room, reminiscent of a cozy, lavish Cordillera home, provides the perfect setting for private parties, small weddings even.

If you find Mirador is too far away to drive to enjoy first-class cuisine and service, it provides transportation to and from anywhere in the valley.

I left the with my palette nurtured, feeling like royalty, as if I had known the staff for years.

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