Every year, the good folks at Deer Valley Resort invite a group of food writers and media to the Resort the week before Thanksgiving, to get a sneak peak at new menu items that will appears on various Deer Valley restaurant menus during the coming season. I’ve been attending the Deer Valley Winter Tasting for some 23 years, dating back to when it was just a handful of food writers gathered around a table in the Silver Lake Lodge kitchen. The group of invitees now includes bloggers, Instagrammers, and other “influencers” and the tasting is a lot less intimate than it used to be. But one thing has remained steadfast through the years: Deer Valley’s commitment to culinary excellence.
You might not have been able to attend the Deer Valley Winter Tasting, but you can enjoy the dishes that we were able to sample this ski season at Resort venues such as Fireside Dining, The Mariposa, Seafood Buffet, Goldener Hirsch Restaurant, Royal Street Cafe, The Brass Tag and Deer Valley Grocery-Cafe. Here are a few delectable new dishes to look forward to.
The evening kicked off with some items from the Deer Valley Seafood Buffet, including freshly-shucked oysters on the half-shell, pastrami-smoked salmon with roasted garlic and Dijon aioli, bay scallop and tuna ceviches, and mussel shooters with white wine, garlic and tomato broth and grilled garlic focaccia.
The Mariposa is Deer Valley’s high-end, fine dining restaurant – the sort of place where you’ll splurge and be pampered in the Resort’s award-winning style. Well, one of the most luxurious dishes I’ve enjoyed in quite some time is the Mariposa’s Alaskan King crab with Osetra caviar on a bed of creamy corn “flan” with miso powder and popped sorghum. It’s an ingenious creation of the type I’ve become accustomed to from the kitchens at Deer Valley.
During the winter season, Deer Valley Empire Lodge morphs into Fireside Dining restaurant in the evenings, where rustic European-style dining is the theme and foods like raclette and roast lamb are prepared utilizing the Lodge’s four stone fireplaces. One of the new menu items at Fireside this winter will be grilled guinea hen gnocchi. The Meyer lemon and fresh thyme gnocchi is garnished with crispy house-made chorizo, cured egg yolk (cured for months, I was told), fresh fava beans, slow-roasted tomatoes, and smoked Gouda cream sauce. It’s another knockout dish.
The Brass Tag restaurant at Deer Valley Resort specializes in brick oven-cooked fare. Items from pizzas to shellfish to entrees are prepared in the Brass Tag’s rustic brick ovens. That includes a terrific comfort food entree of house-made bison meatloaf with buttermilk mashed potatoes, baby arugula, crispy fried onions, and espagnole – a classic, rich French brown sauce. I could eat the Brass Tag meatloaf three nights a week, at least!
Another comfort food staple is, of course, macaroni and cheese. Deer Valley kicks things up a few notches with the mac & cheese at Royal Street Cafe by loading it with lobster. It begins with fresh pasta – macaroni made by Funaro’s Perfect Pasta in West Valley City. Who uses fresh macaroni in their mac & cheese, anyway??? Well, that’s the Deer Valley difference. At any rate, that perfect, al dente macaroni is tossed with generous chunks of Maine lobster, Gold Creek Farms Pimento Bay Cheddar, and Niman Ranch bacon to create a truly decadent dish. It’s marvelous macaroni.
Over at the Goldener Hirsch restaurant, Executive Chef Ryan Burnham gives his Silver Star Farms short rib a 24-hour smoke before serving it with fall squash, celeriac, apples, Matsutake mushrooms, shaved Burgundy truffles and truffle-soy jus. The sensuous short rib was paired beautifully with Fisher Vineyards Unity Pinot Noir.
For the talented Deer Valley culinary team, dessert is anything but an afterthought. First, we were treated to Chai Creme Brulee from the Mariposa dessert menu. This was a stunning presentation of 20-layered butternut schichttorte with vanilla brandy glaze and apple cider caramel. Wow.
But the fireworks hadn’t ended yet. At a work station adjacent to our dining tables, Deer Valley Executive Pastry Chef Steve Harty was playing with fire. Specifically, he was busy preparing Baked Alaska Flambé, as will be done this winter season at Fireside Dining. The baked Alaska is served with house-made local elderberry ice cream, pistachio shortbread, and flambéed with Grand Marnier. Don’t try this at home!
With culinary talent like that, it’s not surprising that Deer Valley Resort earned the 2018 Best U.S. Ski Resort by the World Ski Awards earlier this week. During the Winter Tasting I got to chat during dinner with Todd Shallan, Deer Valley’s new President and Chief Operating Officer – a very savvy and amicable fellow with a ton of food, beverage and hospitality experience in his background. With him at the helm and Director of Food & Beverage Jodie Rogers and her top-notch team continually topping themselves in the kitchens, the 2018-2019 season at Deer Valley promises to be a delicious one.
Photos by Ted Scheffler
Culinary quote of the week:
Dining is and always was a great artistic opportunity.
— Frank Lloyd Wright
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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