Courchevel is, of course, the famous ski resort in the French Alps. If you ever have the opportunity, you should go there. If not, don’t fret. You can enjoy a French getaway, of sorts, by visiting Courchevel Bistro in Park City. Courchevel and Park City are, by the way, Sister Cities, having first developed an alliance in 1984.
Courchevel BIstro is a beautifully appointed Talisker Club property situated within the historic Coal & Lumber building on Park City’s lower Main Street. At the helm in the kitchen is the uber-chef – who hails originally from the Savoie region of France – Clement Gelas. He says of Courchevel Bistro, “Sharing the culinary influences from my home country of France and the Rhône Valley in a fresh and inventive manner is one of my greatest passions. We’re excited to craft modern adaptations that incorporate seasonal flavors from purveyors who share our commitment to sustainable and local ingredients.”
I have followed Gelas’ career since he moved to Utah and can say, unequivocally, that his kitchen skills are unsurpassed. And, he’s a great and affable guy, to boot. Courchevel reopened for the winter season with a partially new menu on November 26, so some of the dishes you’ll read about here may have changed or be unavailable. But don’t worry, you’ll find plenty of Savoie fare to savor at Courchevel Bistro.
One of the tastiest things I’ve ever put in my mouth is Gelas’ Baked Crozets ($14).In France, Crozets de Savoie are small buckwheat pasta squares – sort of like square buckwheat gnocchi. At Courchevel, Baked Crozets are served with a melange of Gruyere cheese, Niman Ranch pork belly and roasted wild mushrooms, topped with green peas and microgreens. Those Crozets are a crazy good first course.
For a lighter starter, try the scrumptious and silky Corn Bisque with agnolotti and tarragon oil ($12). It’s terrific paired with a wine from Courchevel BIstro’s daunting wine list, which is chock-full with wines from around the world. Of particular interest are wines from France’s Savoie region such as the exquisite Domaine des Ardoisières Schiste.
The French certainly know their way around a Niçoise salad, and that’s true at Courchevel. They serve a salad that my wife adored: Smoked Trout Niçoise Salad ($16) with Tuscan lettuce, fingerling potatoes, Niçoise olives, haricot vert, hard boiled egg, citrus vinaigrette, and of course, smoked trout.
Meat lovers will go gaga of dishes like Steak Frites ($52) with spuds cooked in duck fat; the Venison Medallion with juniper berry jus ($41); Grilled Pork Chop ($39) with stone fruit marmalade; and Short Rib Beef Parmentier with potato emulsion and citrus gremolata ($35).
For a “meaty” poultry option, try the tender and lovely Roasted Duck Breast ($37) with butternut squash puree. I also really enjoy the Grilled “Poulet Rouge” ($32). This is grilled chicken with Niman Ranch fingerling potatoes, broccolini, pea puree, and roasted garlic jus – simply superb.
Another outstanding Courchevel duck dish is Duck Confit Pasta ($32), which, by definition, brings together two of my favorite foods: duck confit and fresh pasta. It’s a heavenly melange of fresh-made linguine pasta with carrot puree, fresh tomatoes, duck confit, fresh peas, fine herbs and beurre blanc. The only way this pasta dish could get more decadent would be to shave fresh truffles on top (hint, hint).
Seafood gets a spotlight at Courchevel Bistro as well, with tempting dishes like Dover Sole ($36) with olive oil potatoes and tomato jam; or Grilled Swordfish with roasted cauliflower, haricot vert, beurre balance, and white bean tapenade ($39). But my wife and I really enjoy the modernist take on classic French bouillabaisse at Courchevel. Chef Gelas has created a very distinctive Arctic Char Bouillabaisse ($37). Luscious Arctic char rests on a bed of crawfish emulsion in a saffron broth with traditional vegetables such as haricot vert and fingerling potatoes. Like virtually everything we tried at Courchevel Bistro, this was a totally satisfying dish.
If you’d prefer a quick snack and an adult beverage, hop downstairs to the Courchevel Bar where you’ll find expertly made libations and upscale pub fare such as the bratwurst wrapped in brioche with homemade apple cider mustard; goat cheese and onion tart; chicken consomme; and those baked crozets that I raved about. It’s all a little piece of France, right here in Utah.
Photos by Ted Scheffler
Culinary quote of the week:
“Bouillabaisse is only good because it’s cooked by the French, who, if they cared to try, could produce an excellent and nutritious substitute out of cigar stumps and empty matchboxes.” — Norman Douglas
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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.