Vail EAT: Blue Plate Bistro – heart and soul food |

Vail EAT: Blue Plate Bistro – heart and soul food

Sarah Dixon
Vail, CO Colorado
Elli Roustom/Special to the DailyVail EAT: Blue Plate's crispy duck with lingonberry glaze comes with scallion rice, brown sugar carrots and peas.

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –“People miss the heart and soul of what food is,” says chef-owner Adam Roustom of the Vail Valley’s Blue Plate Bistro.

He makes this direct, eloquent statement offhandedly as he scribbles furiously on a pad of paper. He’s busy making notes of the various dishes he wants me to try in my inaugural experience at his laid back American bistro in Avon.

“Let’s see… you have to try the hummus, and the Greek salad. We’ll do a small order of the wings, and a little bowl of the chili. You’ve got to taste the meatloaf… oh, and the pot-roast. Shoot… think you’ll have room for the scampi?”

If diversity and excellence were faults, Adam would be a broken chef. But his expansive menu, as varied as it is comforting, is what sets Blue Plate Bistro apart in a culinary landscape too cluttered by extravagance.

“This is food that people used to make, but don’t bother to make anymore,” says Adam of his tradition-inspired menu. “Who needs food that you have to take out a second mortgage to eat? Here, you’ll get an honest meal, for an honest price.”

So what is an American bistro?

“The term ‘American Cuisine’ is so broad,” says Roustom, whose Austrian wife Elli is both sommelier and manager. “There’s such an incredible mixing of the influences of our ancestors. We take a little Italian, a little Greek, some Eastern influences and come up with something totally unique.”

This amalgamation of roots is blatantly evident in Blue Plate’s menu. The warm, herby hummus is a far cry from the cold paste bought in grocery stores – a callback to Adam’s Syrian upbringing where he recalls the “hummus maker who did nothing but boil beans all day.”

The American Onion Soup is just that: a patriotic take on the French-inspired original. using the best regional onions, cheese, sherry and American pita bread.

We ordered the wings “wicked hot” doused in the house hot. Special evenings include Schnitzel Thursdays and Fried Chicken Saturdays – refreshing themes for date night, to say the least.

Elli runs a tight ship on her bar. In addition to carefully selected wines, specialty drinks are not to be missed. The mojito, crafted with home-grown spearmint from the Roustoms’ Wildridge garden, avoids cloying simple syrupy-ness, with its effervescence and organic flavor. Try the root beer float or the creamscicle frozen rum delight as an alternative to dessert. Or, if you’re feeling brave, couple the boat drinks with such sinful dishes as the flourless chocolate cake or the New York-style Cheese Cake with Oreo crust, white chocolate, strawberry sauce and underwhipped cream.

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