SaddleRidge |


BY SHANE MACOMBERTobacco-infused whipped cream gives the chocolate cake a smoky tang.

Using the freshest Colorado ingredients, executive chef Dan Spurlock cooks up a truly original menu at SaddleRidge. All the fine-dining staples are present ” lamb, duck, scallops ” but Spurlock, channeling his big Texas heart perhaps, gives a thoughtful twist to each and every dish. The go-to tenderloin is rubbed and smoked, giving it a big juicy flavor reminiscent of bacon. Instead of potatoes, he serves it with organic cheddar grits, milled especially for SaddleRidge for a thicker texture. Forget brown butter sauce, Spurlock’s ruby red trout is served on a saffron griddle cake with linguica (Portuguese sausage), shrimp and tomato ragu. The robust sides are a perfect match for the delicate fish. But the chef’s most inspired (and tasty) spin on a classic is adding Tazo chai tea to roasted pumpkin and butternut squash soup. “It’s like eating pumpkin pie for the first course,” Spurlock said.

The Hawaiian kahala carpaccio looks a little out of place on the hearty mountain menu, but it readies your palate for the courses to come. A relative of yellow fin, the clean-tasting kahala is thinly sliced and served with a fennel salad, citrus wedges, sea salt and honey pine nuts. Swirling all the flavors into one bite is candy-like.

The ambiance and the food at SaddleRidge battle it out for top prize on a nightly basis. It’s a fierce fight, but for history buffs, there’s just no competition.SaddleRidge is home to the largest private collection of American Western artifacts and art in the United States outside of a museum. One could spend hours milling around the warm wooded retreat discovering its many treasures. Buffalo Bill’s desk, which traveled with him during the Wild West shows, sits in the Centennial Library. There are original Native American portraits shot by Edward Curtis circa 1895, an original gas Tiffany lamp and many examples of Indian crafts, like the long leather fringed beaded pouches used to carry pipes on the trail.

There’s even a piece of living history at SaddleRidge ” manager and sommelier Garth Koellhoffer. His great-great-grandfather played the bugle for Colonel Custard, and his family has the instrument to prove it.

Besides his historical claim to fame, Koellhoffer knows his vino. For a truly decadent experience, ask him to pair a glass with each course. You will most likely taste wines you’ve never had before, and the sips become sweeter as Koellhoffer tells stories of the grapes, the land and their makers.

SaddleRidge was built for the highest level of executive and their clients in 1987 by the Shearson-Lehman Corporation. Even though the building’s ownership has since changed hands, it seems SaddleRidge’s servers didn’t get the memo. Service is still executive level. The wait staff is happy, kind and extremely knowledgeable about the menu, down to how deep the waters are from where the fish hails.

Located at the base of the eastern slopes of Beaver Creek Mountain, SaddleRidge is accessible via a free shuttle from St. James Place in Beaver Creek Village.

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