traMonti Ristorante, Beaver Creek, ItalianBY SH
Vail CO, Colorado
The Charter at Beaver Creek
Red and yellow toned walls, lit softly by wall sconces, warm traMonti’s dining room like the Tuscan sun. Picture windows let in views of Beaver Creek Mountain, but those wanting to sit even closer with nature can dine outdoors on the large wrap-around deck.
Meet the chef
Chef de cuisine Alexander Feldman cooks authentic Northern Italian food, but he’s not afraid to surrender to inspiration. He learned to balance creativity and respect authenticity while living and working in Italy. If a meal struck him the right way, he’d walk into the kitchen and ask for a job. In Florence, he learned the finer points of seasoning and flavoring, while in Bologna, besides learning to speak the language fluently, he learned to make the perfect bolognesse stock and risotto.
“I was happy with my risotto technique until it was put to shame by Max Poggi, my chef in Bologna,” Feldman said. “In fact, I went to work for him largely because, upon tasting his risotto, it was as if I tried a piece of foie gras after a lifetime of chopped liver.”
One of Feldman’s signature dishes is his crispy Alaska salmon topped with lemon-marjarom marmelatta. It borrows the techniques of a lemon vinaigrette, a mustard fruit and a lemon jam. And it cuts the oily fish beautifully for summer.
The Wine Spectator awards hanging above the host stand are just one indication that owner Jerry Weiss knows his vino. To really experience the sommelier’s master palate, ask him to pair a glass with each course. He might start off domestic, pairing chef’s tuna crudo with a California rose, like Solo Rosa, a sangiovese-merlot blend sure to dissolve any negative preconceived notions about rose.
He will definitely take you to Italy, as the bulk of the wine list hails from this grape-growing part of the world. If you’re lucky, Weiss will pour a glass of rebellious Super Tuscan ” like La Spinetta’s Il Nero Di Casanova ” a dark, lush 100 percent sangiovese gem aged in French oak.
The fava bean tartlet, served with arugula, shaved pecorino and a 31-year-old aged balsamic, which is reason enough to try this summer indulgence.
But you’ll find true decadence with the lobster ravioli, served on top of sweet pea and basil puree, swiss chard and a stew of peppers and tomatos, accented with just a touch of chili flakes. Eat it while drinking Moccagatta chardonnay “Buschet,” guaranteed to bring all the buttery goodness together.
Ask for Jerry Ford’s table ” it’s the best view in the house. When he was at his home in Beaver Creek, the 38th president would eat at traMonti every 10 days, owner Jerry Weiss says.