The 10th: Ski in-Dine out at Vail's new on-mountain restaurant

Posted on 12/8/2011
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Th 10th, Vail's new ski-in, ski-out restaurant, takes it's relaxed refinement seriously.

By Melanie Wong

 At Vail Mountain’s newest on-hill restaurant, The 10th, the main course is a generous serving of mountain elegance.

 Located at Mid-Vail, skiers are greeted at the brand-new ski-in, ski-out restaurant by an attentive staff, stunning views of the Gore Range, and even a pair of fuzzy slippers to replace those awkward ski boots. Despite the luxury, The 10th never feels stuffy – after all, you can dine in your snow pants.

 The name is a tribute to the veterans of the 10th Mountain Division (which includes many of Vail’s original founders), who returned from World War II and dramatically influenced the development of skiing in the United States. Subtle touches in the décor are a nod to these veterans, such as the framed set of 10 white skis in the dining room.

 The cavernous space is contemporary and simple, preferring to let the surrounding views of white slopes and buzzing lifts take center stage. An attached bar offers a lounge area for skiers just looking to warm up with a drink or a quick lunch. On warmer days, guests can relax on the outdoor deck, complete with heated tables so your legs don’t freeze while dining and watching skiers on the Look Ma and Challenge trails.


Lunch breaks with class

 Executive Chef Paul Wade has crafted a menu that he calls “modern alpine cuisine.” That means comfort foods prepared with craftsmanship and detail in mind, with dishes ranging from American classics, such as hearty chicken noodle soup, to Alps-inspired dishes like short ribs braised in Gruyere sauce.

 “The idea is to capture the authenticity of experience one might achieve day-skiing the alpine regions of Europe, yet with an American sensibility,” Wade says. “The heart of the menu’s ‘life force’ is drawn from the regions throughout the Swiss and Austrian Alps, the Pyrenees (Andorra and Catalonia, as well as Friuli, Venezia, Giulia), and perhaps more importantly, the food sources and legacy of the American Rocky Mountain regions.”

 The restaurant makes nearly everything from scratch in its extensive kitchen – the in-house bakery bakes delicious breads, and cooks also make their own cheeses, sausage, prosciuttos, mustards, pastas, dumplings, pastramis, signature chocolates and more.

 The 10th is only open for lunch, so for skiers and riders wanting something light to get them back on the slopes, the appetizers are great to share. The fat, hearty truffle and Parmesan fries are addictive, and the fried oysters are crunchy and savory. French onion soup lovers should try Wade’s version – it’s so thick and rich you could eat it with a fork.

 The Niçoise salad is spot-on and filling, with a balanced combination of fresh-seared tuna, crunchiness and bright greens tossed in a curiously tangy dressing. Savory meets light with the poached-pear salad – the generous slices are soaked in port wine, and sweet, candy-like pecans are sprinkled throughout. The dish feels decadent, but won’t leave you struggling to get back on the hill.

 Pizza may not seem like the ritziest of fare, but The 10th puts a unique twist on the valley staple. Try any of the petite-sized pies with several different crusts, such as the fluffy, oniony traditional crust. You won’t find plain old pepperoni and cheese here – Wade’s twists include toppings such as spicy sausage and Brie cheese.

 Got your runs in and ready to warm up with a more filling dish? The menu features a number of sandwiches on handmade bread baked in one of the kitchen’s specialized ovens. The Pot Au Feu is a succulent short rib dish that will stick to your ribs and is paired nicely with a creamy, cheesy sauce. The scallops are also a favorite, seared just-so to make the crisped edges caramelized and sweet. It’s served on a bed of red quinoa and kale – it’s probably the healthiest dish on the menu, but completely satisfying.

 The 10th is not the place to skip dessert. The apple pie à la mode is to die for on a cold winter day, and other originals, such as the in-house Nutella ice cream (we kid you not!) and rich chocolate cake, help end a great day on the slopes.

 The restaurant opens at 9 a.m. with coffee and drink service, and serves lunch beginning at 11 a.m. Reservations are recommended.

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