Vail dining: Game Creek not just prix fixe anymore |

Vail dining: Game Creek not just prix fixe anymore

Sarah Dixon
Vail, CO Colorado
Alexie Catalano/Special to the Vail DailyChef Clawson's contemporary cuisine at Vail Mountain's Game Creek Restaurant uses fresh ingredients, as in the crab salad served with citrus and micro greens.

VAIL, Colorado –Nestled atop Vail Mountain with breathtaking views down valley and south towards the Sawatch Mountain Range, Game Creek Restaurant has long been at the peak of Valley dining.

Only now, in what they’re describing as a “reinvention,” Game Creek Restaurant has become well within reach for many who may never before have considered making the ascent.

With a new abbreviated Sunset Menu available on the deck or in the bar from 4:30-6:30 p.m., as well as a new a la carte option in the dining room, Game Creek is striving to become more accessible. This marks the first time in history that the establishment has broken from their traditional per-course pricing structure.

“We wanted to offer diners something more casual,” explains General Manager Elizabeth Nilsson. “Now you can hike up and swing in for a drink.”

A robust menu of inventive specialty cocktails is ample inspiration to hoof it up Berry Picker (or ride the Gondola if you prefer). Don’t miss the Gingered Mountain Mojito, made with handpicked mint from the herb boxes lining the deck. The menu also offers a variety of starters, as well as a selection of summer entrees, ranging in price from $14-$18.

And traditionalists, have no fear. Game Creek has not done away with the more comprehensive culinary experience. Diners still have the option to choose from four or five courses on the Chef’s Table menu, which changes weekly and is also offered with carefully paired wines.

“There’s really something for everyone,” Nilsson says. “We’ve had couples come in and the husband orders the full Chef’s Table, and the wife just has a starter and entree. This allows everyone to try different things.”

Whether you opt for a light meal on the sunny deck or a full evening in the mountain chalet-inspired dining room, you can count on Chef K. David Clawson to serve some of the most inventive and beautifully crafted food in the Valley.

“My style is Contemporary American cuisine,” says Clawson. “We use organic, sustainable, friendly ingredients. You’ll find lots of Colorado summer products on the menu.”

The hamachi sashimi, dressed in black truffle oil and served with sinfully fleshy candy cane beets, is a sumptuous delight with pink grapefruit slices and verdant dollops of avocado puree accessorizing the filets. The ahi carpaccio is cut paper thin and served with equally delicate slices of peaches. The Olathe corn bisque is impossibly rich, especially considering that it’s a straight puree, achieving its velvet texture unaided by cream.

The day boat scallops are one of Chef’s many imaginative creations. “I was eating blue cheese, melon and olives one day, and have wanted to create a dish with those flavors ever since,” he says. So he chose to use seared scallops, mild in flavor and perfect in texture, as a canvas for these culinary paints. The result is an unexpected, altogether wonderful main course.

Try the Chilean sea bass for a light dish that packs a punch. The subtly sweet Kabayaki glaze complements the mild white miso broth – you’ll be well behaved if you don’t lick the bowl.

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