Splendido at the Chateau, Beaver Creek, wide selection of cuisine | VailDaily.com
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Splendido at the Chateau, Beaver Creek, wide selection of cuisine

Wren Wertin
Vail CO, Colorado
BY PRESTON UTLEY
ALL |

Splendido at the Chateau

Chateau Lane, Beaver Creek

(970) 845-8808

Prettiest kitchen in town

When the doors of Splendido at the Chateau closed for spring, the restaurant didn’t go dark. Instead, the entire kitchen was dismantled and redone. The beautiful tile work, state-of-the-art ovens and massive Brazilian granite work surface can be seen from the dining room, as can the hustle and bustle of chefs in white jackets. It’s a chef’s kitchen, designed by chef-proprietor David Walford, and has all kinds of details only someone familiar with commercial kitchens would think about. But he and his crew aren’t the only ones who will cook there. It’s perfect for hands-on culinary classes, granting everyone a bit of space. “It’s really nice to cook in, but ultimately it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we keep putting out food that people want to eat,” he said.

Rotation of favorites

Chef Walford could fill a whole menu with greatest hits he’s developed over the years: wood oven-roasted lobster that jumps out of the shell, Colorado rack of lamb so succulent you want to gnaw the bones (most do), chocolate souffles that stand at attention until they ooze onto the spoon, a jumbo lump crab cake tower (all crab, no cake). But like any chef he wants to push the envelope, keeping his menu fresh and exciting. So he’s managed to keep a core of house favorites, while bringing in new items.

New passions

Talk to him, and he’s all fired up about the Berkshire pork chop, an “heirloom” variety from England that hasn’t had all the flavor bred out of it. “It’s pork like I remember as a child, with the marbling and flavor and color. It’s amazing,” he said. He’s also rescued coq au vin from the ’70s, when it was on every French menu. It arrives in a cast iron pot for one or two, and includes a young chicken drenched in a slow-cooked silky pinot noir sauce. Your server dishes it out of the pot onto a small tangle of pasta, a nice touch.

Sweet finish

They take dessert seriously at the restaurant ” so much so that the dinner menu includes a brief listing of desserts, so you can plan accordingly. Pastry chef Dorothee Drouet is new to the team, but she’s the real deal. The house-made ice creams are beautiful accompaniments to such items as the Palisade cherry tart, an almond-laced custardy cake known as clafoutis in France. The chocolate trio is based off a single chocolate variety from Venezuela, and puts it through its paces. It’s a good ride-along with a fresh espresso or a single malt, as is the subtle piano music coming from the bar.


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