The Charter, Beaver Creek
A large free-form bar area plays sentinel to the intimate dining room. Capitalizing on its location, the room’s non-stop windows offer a seldom-seen view of Beaver Creek Mountain, a mass of green during the summer months.
The Northern Italian fare is bright and fresh, but it’s still got that earthy soul. Chef Edward Tracey has created several salads especially for the summer menu, and not all of them stick to greens. But the hand-shaped pastas and abundant entrees will always be favorites, as will the creamy soups, which always have a fun garnish.
Owner-sommelier Jerry Weiss doesn’t call traMonti a wine bar, but he serves 30 wines by the glass. With 300 selections on the wine list and 5,000 in the cellar, he’s got plenty of vino to choose from. His list is 60 percent Italian, 30 percent Californian and 10 percent “other weird wine-producing countries.” Don’t hesitate to ask for his pairing advice.
The warm goat cheese cakes are creamy, baked towers sharing plate space with sweet beets and a balsamic reduction. The lobster ravioli in a saffron cream sauce is a mainstay of the menu, summer or winter. But the real star is the pan-roasted halibut, which comes with an espresso-barbecue glaze that defies the rules. It gives the piece of tender fish a sultry personality, and leaves you wanting more.
If you don’t feel like sojourning in the dining room, sit in the bar. It can get downright frolicsome when it’s humming. Best of all, you can order from the same menu.