December 21, 2004
Classified as new American cuisine, Antares boasts a menu sure to please any connoisseur of fine food.
The restaurant’s Pacific Rim focus is evident from its Cantonese chicken and pork pot sticker appetizer to its Thai chili prawns entree. But LeBrun includes a variety of other styles and tastes on the menu, including the Indian-influenced Kashmir chicken and the Rocky Mountain-inspired Elk Capone.
Of course, French culinary practices play a major role in LeBrun’s cooking. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America, LeBrun began his professional career with stints at several high-profile East Coast French restaurants, including New York’s L’Bruge Bretton. The French, LeBrun says, are the best in the world at coaxing flavors out of food.
Patrons who dine in Antares’ elegant yet understated interior have the pleasure of choosing from a menu sure to please any appetite.
For starters, Antares offers miso encrusted chicken skewers, roasted elephant garlic and foccacia, jumbo gulf prawns and a chef’s choice combo platter featuring an array of appetizers chosen each evening by LeBrun. Antares’ house salad features gourmet greens, fresh apple and avocado, Romano cheese, grape tomatoes and sugared walnuts. The salad is tossed with an orange Muscat vinaigrette. The Asian pear salad features caramelized Asian pear, pecans and gorgonzola cheese over Bibb lettuce and is tossed with a champagne tarragon vinaigrette.
For entrees, the Kashmir chicken features a boneless breast sauteed Indian style with ginger, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and snap peas. It’s served with Jasmati rice, Riata and pineapple chutney.
The Thai chili prawns are sauteed with snap peas, red bell pepper and shitake mushrooms in a spicy green coconut curry and served over Jasmati rice.
The tournedos of beef LeBrun are sauteed tenderloin medallions with a Port wine and fresh shallot sauce. The dish is served with angel hair pasta tossed with parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.
Other dinner selections include a sesame crusted Ahi tuna salad, Cantonese baby back ribs, grilled leg of lamb, pan-seared North Atlantic salmon and roasted veal rack. A mix grill features LeBrun’s choice of meat and game specials.
All of Antares’ desserts are made on premises, including chocolate pecan praline ice cream, Abo’s banana pecan cheesecake, blueberry Frangelico saute with vanilla ice cream and crÃme brulee du jour.
In addition to its fine food offerings, Antares boasts an extensive wine list that’s a nine-time winner of Wine Spectator Magazine’s Award of Excellence. “We spend hours tasting wine so it will accent the food,” LeBrun said. “We have to have a contrast between the food and wine so they can accent each other.”
The wine list features more than 200 selections from around the world and covering five continents.
The role of wine is to cleanse the palate between bites, LeBrun said, and his knowledgeable wait staff can help diners selected the ideal wines for their meals.
The restaurant is housed in the historic First National Bank building in downtown Steamboat Springs.
The interior of the restaurant has changed little over the past 30 years, blending a Victorian feel with the natural wood floors and large stone fireplaces characteristic of the American West. Antares’ bar and parlor area are a local’s favorite. The bar, known for its martinis, offers 27 different varieties of vodka and a casual and quiet atmosphere for happy hour cocktails or late-night refreshers.
Lucky patrons might even spot a supernatural occurrence. The historic building is rumored to be home to a friendly ghost, the spirit of “Old Man Shaw” who died in an upstairs apartment long ago.