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“Fun experience; but spendy”

Tennessee Pass Cookhouse
Ranked #8 of 31 Restaurants in Leadville
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $0 - $70
Cuisines: American, Grill
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed December 11, 2012

This is a unique, one-time dining experience. The ambiance is rustic and romantic; one can easily believe they are in a high-mountain hut in France.

But the food, to me, was only OK and is overpriced for the meal at $80 per person (plus tax, plus drinks, plus gratuity). My salmon dinner was perfectly cooked, but salty and unremarkable. At $80 per person, I want remarkable.

I went once, but I probably won't go again for dinner.

1) Wear warmer socks than you'll think you'll need; the lower half of the yurt feels drafty and my feet were cold (even in their thick Smartwools).
2) If you don't want to spend the big money for dinner go for lunch instead. It's still an expensive lunch, but you will see the forest and enjoy the hike. And you'll have time to go to Cottonwood Hot Springs afterwards for a soak.
3) Go on a night with a new moon; the stars will be amazing.

Please let me know if this review is useful.

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2  Thank dirtriderroger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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61 - 65 of 87 reviews

Reviewed December 2, 2012

We went here last night for my husbands 40th birthday. We had heard good things so my expectations were high, especially given the cost. We arrived early because we were also staying at the Tennessee Pass Sleep Yurts there, so we were able to see the great views and the sunset before the sun went down. As we walked past the Cookhouse on the way to our Sleep Yurt, the chef came outside and greeted us and offered to take a picture of us, very nice!
When we returned later for dinner it was already dark, so we didn't take advantage of the nice deck out front that evening for sunset, but we returned this morning after leaving our sleep yurt with our thermos of coffee and sat there for a while, very peaceful and beautiful morning light on the mountains across the valley.

The service at the Cookhouse was very friendly and professional. There were only two other couples (again likely due to the off season time and lack of snow). The environment was very romantic with the old wood furnishings and decorations, candlelight, and Frank Sinatra music playing quietly in the background.

The food was Fantastic and they were so kind to accommodate my allergies including gluten. We started with a plate of appetizers, bruschetta, boar sausage, and stuffed mushrooms. Then we had roasted red pepper soup and spring mix salad with grapes, jicama, cashew, feta, and balsamic honey mustard dressing. All were lip smacking good and my plate was scraped clean. For the main, my husband had the Elk, he isn't a big game fan but found this to be very mild and enjoyed it. It was cooked properly to medium rare. I had the lamb with a grand mariner sauce, the best lamb I have ever had! Both were served with tender asparagus, carrots, and rosemary mashed potatoes. For desert my husband loved the strawberry-rhubarb pie and I had a huge white and dark chocolate chip gluten free cookie. We had a good bottle of wine and the server made a great recommendation for us there. The food was so good, we left a bit overstuffed.

I would definitely recommend this place to others, and if it is out of your price range, then go for a special occasion or go for lunch as it will be an experience to remember! We can't wait to go back again.

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Thank Koalatastic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 24, 2012

We had heard glowing reviews from friends about this unique dining experience so we decided to try it out.

Having a limited seating capacity, reservations are required. We reserved our space for Thanksgiving--opening day for the winter season.
You must visit the website and choose your entree. Eat meal includes a starter (soup or salad), your main entree, and dessert (fruit pie). Being an un-adventurous eater, I was anxious about the menu because there was no beef anywhere on the menu. There was elk tenderloin which I decided to try.

The restaurant is located at Ski Cooper and you must hike, cross country ski (snow conditions permitting), snowmobile, or ride in a jeep to the Cookhouse location. The cookhouse is located a mile away from the Cooper lodge, in a yurt. It is green as in there is no electricity. Very important to note: there is a restroom facility but it is in an OUTHOUSE. Just beware. I did not visit it so I cannot report on it.
The hike to the yurt was nice. There is a 300 foot climb which isn't too bad but they do offer poles if you desire. We spotted multiple animal tracks in the snow and enjoyed trying to identify them as we hiked.
Once seated in the yurt the servers immediately started serving drinks and asking preferences for the starters.
A quick side note: an artist in Leadville creates the coffee cups and other pottery used in the cookhouse. They are available for purchase in the yurt. The price of the coffee mugs was a tad excessive ($20) but almost all of it goes to the artist rather than the restaurant. I splurged and bought one. I really like the restaurant logo on it and do not have regrets paying the hefty price.

The soup offered was curry carrot and my husband rated it as delicious with a good, spicy kick. He cleaned his bowl completely. My salad was good--typical mixed green salad with jicama and cashews.
The entree was delicious; my first time to have elk tenderloin so I have no benchmarks to compare it to.
I'm not a pie-fan so I cannot rate the dessert.

Overall the meal was good. The service was good, and the atmosphere was great. I'm not sure I will return due to not seeing the value for my meal. I am happy I went and enjoyed my experience and think that others should go if they can afford the $80/person price tag.

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1  Thank Pkrekeler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2012

I haven't been here since I was young, but, everyone I talk to who have been up there absolutely rave about it! It's a little off the beaten path in the wonderful Rocky Mountain backcountry, and it is well worth it. If you want a romantic evening this is the place to do it!

Thank Darrell R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2012

While wandering the main street of Leadville we wandered into this place because it had an outdoor patio. Not only did we enjoy yummy, healthy sandwiches but we got savor the cool temperature and a view of the mountains: a gift more valuable than gold to cool-weather starved Texans.

Thank mlonthego
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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