SaddleRidge |


Wren Wertin
Preston Utley/Vail DailyExecutive Chef Geordie Ogden isn't a hunter, but he has an affection for game, such as the Texas wild boar with plum sauce.

SaddleRidge is one of a kind. Each chair, every photo, is an artifact from the Old West. From the burnished butternut interior to the vintage pool table on the upper level, the building feels like a four-star saloon.

But it’s Executive Chef Geordy Ogden’s rustic mountain cuisine for the sophisticated palate that elevates SaddleRidge from beautiful museum to delightful restaurant.

There’s no need to jump into ordering, as simply gazing around the room is so enjoyable. Try a glass of Gruet Rose sparkling wine while doing so.

The dry bubbly comes from Albuquerque, New Mexico ” a harbinger of flavors to come.

The menu combines Asian and Mountainwestern flavors, from the braised beef tostada with hoison overtones to the seared foie gras served burrito-style with pomegranate molasses and pineapple salsa.

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The grilled artichoke with a feisty citrus aioli is a good one to share. For those who prefer to keep their food to themselves, the trio is an elegant plate, including a solitary oyster, a yellowtail ceviche shooter and the crowning glory, spicy diced scallops on gyoza.

My favorite is the roasted beet and Point Reyes blue cheese salad, embellished with pear slices and a lemon vinaigrette.

The SaddleRidge entree list caters to virtually every palate. The citrus soy-marinated Sonoma dusk breast is a signature dish, with horseradish mashies and blood orange segments. The Texas wild boar chops are robust with smoky braised chicory and corn bread stuffing. It’s pure pig flavor.

The North American elk is tender, sauced with a sweet prickly pear reduction.

A simple and earthy sweet potato gratin vies for attention and deserves it.

Try it with a glass of Columbia cabernet, smooth and full. But the Rocky Mountain trout takes the cake. The filet is large for a trout, and adorns slightly sweet butternut squash chilaquiles.

Often served as a casserole in Mexico, chilaquiles use up yesterday’s corn tortillas. Chef Ogden’s take on the dish is in its own class. They’re deceptively light in their creaminess.

For those who can go the distance, try the molten chocolate cake or a scoop of pistachio semi-freddo.

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