Last night, due to a series of circumstances I was forced to miss a dear friend's birthday dinner but such is life when you spend much of it in the mountains. Kelly, I owe you dinner!
I was fortunate to be able to go to my family's place in Vail again and headed over to my favorite restaurant, Dish, for dinner yet again. I've been asked why I eat there so often and my answer is simple, with the exception of one dish that is always on the menu I've never eaten the same dish twice there. I was greeted warmly by Pollyanna and after informing her I was alone she offered me a coveted seat at the kitchen bar which overlooks the kitchen and allows conversation with the chef throughout the meal. Kevin, their very talented executive sous chef was running the kitchen. I was warmly recognized and greeted by name through out the night by managers and servers. Okay, now on to the important part, the food. I couldn't decide what I wanted so I decided to have the tasting menu (7 courses for $40). What followed was an extravaganza of food that is unequaled in my life and was generously expanded to an astounding 10 courses plus and amouse bouche of Parmesan Truffled Popcorn.
First Course - The Original, shaved serrano ham, a sliver of manchego, a splash of fino sherry (this is always the first course on their tasting menu.
Second Course - Creamy Potato Leek Soup topped with white truffle essence.
Third Course - Spicy Scallop Garden Rolls, rice paper filled with spicy scallop, caesar dressed romaine hearts and prosciutto.
Fourth Course - Roasted Spaghetti Squash with cilantro pesto and pepitas. This is my new favorite way to have spaghetti squash!
Fifth Course - Hudson Valley Foie Gras with kumquat marmalade and crisp wafe crackers and sea salt (this was refused by a couple of people in a 20 person party so I benefited!) This was so buttery and the balance with the marmalade was wonderful. I've not had foie gras before and this has hooked me for good. Although I fear it will never be matched in my mind.
Sixth Course - Wagyu Aspen Steak Tartare with whole grain mustard aioli, poached hen's egg, shaved celery and arugula. My first steak tartare but certainly not the last.
Seventh Course - Pan Seared Walleye with Wild Blue Crab and Brie Mac and Cheese. The traditional thinking of seafood not matching with cheese is proven completely wrong in this dish!
Eighth Course - Sweet Potato Gnocchi (another benefit of the large party, they had a bit extra after plating so it came to me. I love gnocchi. I love sweet potatoes.
Ninth Course - Colorado Lamb Shank, braised with red wine herb risotto, spicy tomato sauce and chevre. Wow. the flavor, the textures, the balance.
Tenth Course - Chocolate "Martini", a rich chocolate and kahlua sipper, triple chocolate brownie "olives". What I wouldn't give for the recipe for those brownies! Absolutely decadent.
I honestly can say that after eating the lamb (incredibly tender and flavorful after braising for 4 hours!) and was ready to call mercy if another non-dessert course had been served as I was perfectly satiated if not a bit full. I can't imagine a more delightful way to spend an evening in the Vail Valley. If you ever have a chance to visit I promise you will not be disappointed.