December 21, 2004
As diners choose from a variety of globally inspired New American cuisine, they can follow skiers and boarders gliding down the snow or watch the sun dip below Emerald Mountain leaving behind trails of pinks, oranges and purples, and a dark sky covered with stars.
Even more enticing than the view, the restaurant carries on the tradition of Hazel Ralston Werner. Sometimes known as the matriarch of Steamboat, Hazie Werner was the mother of three Olympians and hostess to thousands in her downtown home on Aspen Street.
“The hospitality that Hazie Werner showed to others is central to Hazie’s Restaurant,” said Elizabeth Wahl, director of the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. Food and Beverage Department.
Expressing hospitality to diners means more than providing a warm welcome, Wahl said. It means taking absolute care with each ingredient from the second it enters the kitchen to the time it’s presented to a guest.
“We remember the roots of good hospitality and take care in everything we do,” she said. “There are no shortcuts.”
Chefs at Hazie’s also remember to take the best flavors from across the globe and turn them into a unique creation.
Wahl has experience as a chef in countries across the world, from Greece and Germany to the Cayman Islands. She uses that background when she creates Hazie’s menu and encourages the restaurants’ chefs, who also have diverse backgrounds, to do the same.
Lunch at Hazie’s offers a unique break from a day on the slopes. Escargots au Fromage, which are escargots baked in a classic herb butter sauce topped with Brie cheese and served with French bread, is one favorite.
Wahl’s signature Conch Chowder is another favorite start to a hearty meal, or can be a meal in itself. The recipe for the tomato-based chowder using conch flown in fresh is one that Wahl perfected during her work in the Cayman Islands.
The dish previously was offered as a specialty, but Wahl received so many calls from visitors who wanted to be sure the chowder was available during they week they came to vacation or who wanted to order several gallons to take home, that she decided to offer it as a standard.
For entrees, diners can enjoy a true catch-of-the-day delight with the Seared Pacific Island Catch of the Day. The dish features whatever supplier Honolulu Seafood Co. is catching that day, jetted directly from Hawaii to Steamboat Springs, encrusted in macadamia nuts and finished with a rich coffee barbecue sauce.
For vegetarians who want a filling meal, the Greek Islands is a great choice. Chef Rebecca Pauvert makes fresh hummus and baba ghanoush, which are served with grilled pita bread, green salad, feta cheese and olives.
For any dish to pass Wahl’s test, it must be fresh and flavorful, and cannot be dry. Although the food is inspired by dishes from across the globe, flavors are never fused to the point of confusion, she said.
“It’s the best from everywhere,” Wahl said. “It’s carefully brought together.”
At night, a full meal at Hazie’s includes salad or soup, an entree and dessert, all for $59. Diners can choose to add on one of a list of appetizers, such as the Polynesian Trio, which includes three crispy coconut shrimp, three succulent crab cakes and three vegetable wontons served with a sweet chili dipping sauce, for an additional cost.
From the salad choices, Wahl’s own favorite is the Mozzarella Caprece, a mix of roasted peppers, garlic and tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Entrees include Balinese Duck Confit, which is marinated with garlic, shallots, ginger, Thai bird chilies and other seasonings and served with a warm fruit salsa, and Tuscan fish stew, a Liverno-style fish stew with lobster, shrimp, clams, fish and mussels in a tomato broth.
Those two choices illustrate the international and classic tastes the restaurant offers.
For desserts, diners can choose from several melt-in-your-mouth options. A top choice is the chocolate mousse pÃ•te with toasted macadamia nuts and Framboise crÃme Anglaise.
The satisfying food is accompanied by live music, typically a pianist, each night.
For food with a New American style that’s exciting to the mouth, views that can’t be beat and a tradition of warmth and hospitality, head to the top of the ski mountain and dine at Hazie’s.