Simple and unassuming are not always terms associated with Vail, but Thomas Salamunovich made them a priority—both in décor and cuisine—when he opened his first solo venture at the base of Golden Peak in 1999. Salamunovich's training with Wolfgang Puck and in formal French cuisine has shaped a unique melding of styles, and his dedication to local growers has remained as he developed his New American menu and his popularity skyrocketed (and his glassed-in wine vault exploded to 7,500 bottles). Alder wood accents everything here from the casual décor to the smoked salmon carpaccio appetizer, and a fresh simplicity carries through to entrées like the organic rosie chicken with shaved brussels sprouts and whipped potatoes.
Tip: Hit Larkspur for lunch as well as dinner; the parka-clad set is welcome.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.