Restaurant Review - Kelly Liken

April 8, 2012
Customer service, attention to detail and delicious seasonal American cuisine is exactly what you will get when you dine at Restaurant Kelly Liken in Vail, CO.  During our weekend getaway to the Vail Film Festival, we bellied up to the bar for some drinks and appetizers before going to see Hotel Cafe play. 

(Menu and my awesome mani, OPI Black Onyx and a gold accent)

Liken's restaurant was one I have been wanting to try ever sense seeing her as a finalist on Bravo's 'Top Chef' season 7.  She was a semi-finalist for Best Chef Southwest 2009 & 2010 from James Beard which is like the Oscars in the culinary world. 

(My amazing glass of wine, I am going to buy this!)

Ryan grabbed a Mommas Lella Pills Pilsner and I had one of the best glasses of Pinot Noir I have ever had, a 2009 Belle Pentecost.  As we 'cheers' our glasses, the waiter brought out a amuse bouche which I am always a huge sucker for.  For our apps we started with the elk carpaccio that had delicate hits of herbs and smoke.  It was served with a bulgar taboulleh salad that was sprinkled with pomegranate seeds that added a nice freshness.  The carpaccio was also topped with a whole grain mustard aioli that finished out the dish with just enough brininess and richness.  Next up was the seared pork belly served with an apple cider jus.  It was a slightly smaller portion that I had expected but the flavors packed a punch which really surprised me.  The pork was tender and had great depth in flavor.  I felt like the chef made it with tons of TLC which sometimes you cannot taste in restaurants.  Our 'meal' finished up with a tasting of house made desserts including a semi-sweet macaroon, a velvety brownie and a grapefruit lollipop to name a few.

(Elk Carpaccio and Pork Belly)

Yes the food was amazing but more so was the overall experience, even for 'just' sitting at the bar.  The waitstaff was attentive in the best of ways, not overly aggressive in checking how we were doing but right there when we needed our plates cleared or our silverware replaced.  The bartender Matt (I think that was his name) was friendly and charming while simultaneously mixing martinis without missing a step.  I was also impressed with what I am going to call the front of the house manager who was fluttering around the dining room making sure guests were being taken care of.  I guess if I had to make one complaint it would be about the dining room chairs that I felt looked a bit casino-buffet because of their fabric.  I am nit-picking at this point because truly everything felt so thought out and done with intention.

I would love to go back to Restaurant Kelly Liken to add another memorable experience to my dining repertoire.  The whole experience was fine dining at it's best and the food was flavorful, straightforward and classic. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Excellent review and pictures. I knew I recognized that name - Top Chef! I can't wait to try this place myself!


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