That’s a Wow for the price AND the service AND the food.
We had planned ahead to sink a few dollars into a nice meal… oh, boy, did we sink a few dollars. This was quite expensive. For Mrs. Gardiner, Kiddo and I, we dropped a bit over $200… We took the early seating, which gives you a more limited fixe prix menu (and Kiddo’s food was free!). So, we essentially paid for two dinners at $69 each, plus a bottle of wine, plus gratuity, etc. That said, we were really, really, quite pleased.
We took the Lionshead Gondola up to its’ top, and there was a Game Creek hostess there. She directed us outside to a Snowcat which had (as Kiddo called it) Business Class seats. Mike, our driver came in, briefed us on the ride, and off we went. We enjoyed a nice snowcat ride through the trees, above slopes, and finally a steep traverse down to the restaurant. He backed the snowcat in, and we stepped off of the snowcat and pretty much directly in to the restaurant foyer.
They have a coat check immediately on the right, which would probably see more use in the winter. This was first week of April, so not a lot of heavy coats being worn. The tip basket was a disappointment for a place of this caliber.
They did a great job here, as we were greeted by name when we entered the foyer. They explained that they were expecting us, and we could either enjoy a drink at the bar, or head to our table.
We headed off to our table, which was on the first row, by the windows… Just a spectacular view over the slopes heading down… A small cordial amuse bouche was brought out for Mrs. Gardiner and I, and our orders were collected.
We chose two different appetizers and two different entrees. We enjoyed the scallops (probably not indigenous to Colorado) and the beef entree.
For an entree, I had the steak, and Mrs. Gardiner had the salmon. Kiddo’s menu was suitably impressive (but $40 for a fixe prixe kids menu?!?!). Thank goodness for the early diners special! She had, and enjoyed, the tenderloin and mac/cheese.
All, all of our dishes were just delicious. The service was great… actually, I was impressed with the number of waiters/waitresses hovering around- not intrusive, but quickly available if you needed them.
They had a very knowledgeable Sommelier (Mr. Gomez), and he and I had a good discussion about the nuances of Chilean vs. New Zealand wines, and of the inconsistency issues in some Spanish wines. This guy knows his stuff. (Hint: The wine list has wine bottles that are hundreds of dollars. Flip to the back of the wine list, and you’ll see discounted bottles… things they are trying to move at surprisingly low prices.)
In between courses, Kiddo and I went outside… they have a lovely deck out back (should’ve started here with drinks) that is basked in the Vail sunset. Spectacular views… do NOT leave this restaurant without grabbing your vino and stepping outside on the deck for an “Ahhhhh…” moment. (Tell your waiter, and they’ll hold your course)
OK, so this place gets five stars. First, the people (which can make or break any hospitality business) are exceptional… every one we interacted in was solidly guest focused. Then, the food was exceptional. Well prepared, nicely seasoned, and beautifully plated. Finally, the location was very cool… the snowcat ride to get there and get back was great fun. Downloading the Lionshead Gondola in the dark was a magical experience, looking down on the Lionshead Village.
>Expensive, yes. But, you don’t spend a week at Vail/Beaver Creek on a Krystal/White Castle budget.
>Worth it, yes, remember, we’re an experience economy now!
>Would we go back… most certainly!
BUT… next time, we might try Beano’s or Zach’s, just to do something different.
Most folks (the Gardiner’s included) don’t drop two bills plus on a dinner every night. However, when you choose to do so, you want it to be great. Game Creek certainly sucked down two bills, but we walked away very happy.
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