Tuesday, December 21, 2004
It's not street-side dining, to be sure -- it is slopeside dining that can be enjoyed in the comfort of a cozy dining room, next to a fire roaring in the large stone fireplace, looking out on Mount Werner through a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows. Plus, diners get the convenience of using the lodge's private parking lot rather than fighting crowds to search for a spot on the street and walk a block to dinner.
And once inside, Outlaws proves that "family friendly" and "fine dining" aren't mutually exclusive. The restaurant boasts creative American cuisine in a casual Western atmosphere that is as welcoming to couples enjoying a cozy dinner for two as it is for families looking for a breakfast experience that everyone will enjoy.
Co-owners Joe Walker and Ted Brown, who combined have more than 35 years of experience in the restaurant business, and their staff of longtime locals, including sous chef Dave Demos, bar manager Todd Matheis and pastry chef Pam Albrecht, offer a true Steamboat dining experience.
Outlaws is open for breakfast and dinner, featuring a menu and recipes designed by nationally known consulting chef Dee Conner. The full-service breakfast is offered from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. daily, with dishes from $6 to $12.
"People can come in and get a big, hearty breakfast before a day on the mountain, then they can walk right over to the slopes," Walker says.
The breakfast dishes include a Chili Relleno Omelet made from mild green chiles, cheddar and jack cheeses and a cinnamon tomato sauce and Black Bean Cake Benedict, which trades the traditional English muffin for a homemade black bean cake as the base for poached eggs and fresh, made-from-scratch hollandaise sauce.
When Outlaws reopens for dinner at 5:30 p.m., it offers a dining experience that is casual but free of the rowdy aprÃs-ski crowd. And with the huge windows offering expansive views of the See Me, Voo Doo and Vogue ski runs, a table at Outlaws is a prime place to watch one of Steamboat's wintertime fireworks displays or nighttime torch parades down the mountain.
The appetizer menu, with offerings from $5 to $9, includes such treats as escargot and shrimp, sauteed in a creamy alfredo sauce and served in a puff pastry.
The dinner-sized salads include the Spinach and Strawberry Salad -- spinach, gorgonzola cheese, toasted pecans and strawberries tossed in a homemade toasted pine-nut and white balsamic vinaigrette.
And when it comes to the main course, Outlaws can accommodate most tastes and price ranges.
Its pizzas serve one to two people and range from the standard to the unique. One possibility is the Mediterranean shrimp pizza, topped with basil, kalmata olives, feta cheese and oregano.
Outlaws' steak menu offers some of the most reasonable prices in town, and all involving choice cuts of meat.
The buffalo rib eye and porterhouse steaks are delicious, but one of the most popular items is the Gorgonzola Beef Wellington -- a prime cut of filet mignon topped with gorgonzola cheese and wrapped in a puff pastry. It is served with a homemade Merlot and carmelized shallot sauce, along with sauteed fresh vegetables and homemade garlic mashed potatoes.
If steak isn't your preference, the restaurant also offers pasta, chicken, pork and seafood dishes.
The Cedar Plank Salmon gets its name because it is baked on a cedar shingle and finished with a raspberry-maple glaze, served with risotto.
"The raspberry and salmon flavors are fantastic, and the toasted cedar comes up through the plank," Walker says. "It's a fantastic dish."
The Roasted Mountain Sage and Lemon Chicken is another popular choice. It is a French boned half-chicken marinated for 24 hours in a garlic, lemon and sage blend before being roasted with a flavorful broth and served with a sun-dried cranberry sauce.
The full children's menu includes staples such as burgers and hot dogs along with modified items from the adult menu, such as children's sized filet mignon or shrimp.
To accompany dinner, visitors can choose from Outlaws' unique wine buffet: Instead of having to pick a bottle by name, the restaurant has 12 to 15 open bottles on hand so that customers can see the bottles, read the labels and taste the wine before making a choice
"We're trying to make it less intimidating to order wine," Walker says. "And with wines from South America, Chile, Argentina and Spain, for example, we have good values and unique wines that people probably haven't tasted before."
All of Outlaws' desserts are made by longtime local pastry chef Pam Albrecht. New to the full menu this year is the chocolate snowball, an item that was wildly popular as a special last year. It is a rich, chocolate cake with a raspberry filling, coated in vanilla ice cream and topped with coconut.
Along with seating in the main restaurant, Outlaws has a pair of additional dining areas, one featuring a cozy wood-burning fireplace, that can accommodate special parties for 60 to 100 people.
"Our service is Steamboat friendly and we offer fine family dining, a wonderful kids menu, and creatiive and unique signature dishes," Walker says.