Vail dining: Mirabelle is as romantic as it gets
Vail, CO Colorado
Halfway through a four-course dinner at Mirabelle Restaurant in Beaver Creek, we watch through the window as a man in a white chef’s coat scurries out to the restaurant’s herb garden. It’s raining lightly but that doesn’t discourage him from plucking sprigs of bright green mint growing just 15 feet from the restaurant’s kitchen. Chives, radishes, watercress and what Belgian Master Chef Daniel Joly simply calls “salad” shoot from the ground, waiting for eager hands to pluck them for a plate-side appearance.
Tucked into a bend at the base of Beaver Creek, Mirabelle feels like a friendly inn set somewhere in the French countryside. Strings of lights with plum-sized bulbs sparkle on the deck come sunset, and with the gurgling creek running alongside, it may be the best-kept deck secret in the valley.
Inside, the restaurant is cozy. It’s divided into four rooms, and feels small despite its 120-person capacity. On this Thursday night, several couples dine, whispering conspiratorially and sharing bites of each other’s course. Joly talks frequently in his thick Belgian accent about Mirabelle’s magic and indeed, the scene is a testament to the restaurant’s romantic inclinations.
“You better take your lady out to nice dinners – or someone else will,” jokes Joly, grinning before he ducks back into the kitchen he’s managed since 1992 and owned since 1999.
Even if you hesitate at the idea, start your meal with the foie gras. Joly sears the delicacy until the outside is crisp, and serves it warm in a crunchy gingerbread crust. Caramelized peaches, vanilla coulis and baby greens turn Joly’s version into a savory-yet-sweet revelation, capable of wooing even a staunch non-believer.
The Colorado goat cheese salad, dressed with basil chiffonade, tomato “tartare” and a slice of grilled watermelon, combines some of summer’s tastiest gems into one harmonious dish.
Perfectly pink, the roasted elk filet is intent on seducing the diner’s nose first. Served with homemade rhubarb jam, the tart fruit flavors prove to be the perfect foil for the tender meat. Magic, indeed.
55 Village Road