In March I took a week at Keystone, Colorado. Where you SHOULD eat is at the Mi Casa Mexican restaurant and try the Mango Duck Quesadilla.
Where you should NOT eat is at the Snake River Saloon ("a Keystone tradition"). Just because something is traditional doesn't make it good.
I grew up in resort ski areas (mainly Vermont) and am used to the environment and pricing. Snake River Saloon was something else. I was in the mood for a good steak, it was a short walk from the inn, so I thought I'd try eat.
Seated, I was a little taken aback at the menu. The special was a $26.99 Rib Eye steak. All prices were $26 to $35, for steaks. But I was seated, and so I went for it. I chose a $28.99 Filet Mignon, wrapped in bacon and stuffed with crab, and finished with Bernaise sauce. I figure if I'm going to spend $30 on a steak, it damn well better be something I can die from and not some pansy $6 rib-eye selling for $27.
I also admit I was curious - stuffed meats is not something I cook well, so I figured that a restaurant that sells a stuffed steak for $30 must know how to do it. I wanted to try a good example.
Out comes the salad. It's iceberg.
Well, I figure, it IS a "Keystone tradition" - maybe cheap salad is part of that tradition. At the same time, it reminds me of Ziggy's Conch in Florida and all my warning bells are going off. But I ignore them (Ziggy's is another story - avoid that place too, but I'll spare you the details now). Well, one would hope that the salad, albeit an iceberg salad, with a $30 steak would be great, but alas it was just mediocre. But no matter - the steak should be coming out soon.
Ah, here it comes! Mmmm... looks great. Well, actually it looks only ok, presentation could be better, but we'll delude ourselves it looks great. Let's slice in.
Uh, oh... it's raw. Not rare, raw.
I've cooked in restaurants, though that's not my profession now, and I grill steaks and meats all the time now and am very good at it, I think, at least at getting the stuff cooked within range of medium rare, which is what I ordered, but this was not medium rare. This was not even plain rare. This was near-moo.
I'm annoyed, 'cause for a $30 steak you ought to get it right, but I also have a background in restaurant cooking, and know that sometimes you miss the mark, and I also know that stuffed-meat cooking isn't the easiest, so I tell the waiter, who takes it back for them to try again.
At this point I'm expecting they started a new one, but when it comes out, I find it's the same one. No matter, assuming they fixed it, though less than impressive than trying it from scratch.
HOWEVER, it was STILL RAW. Not medium rare.
Not even rare.
RAW. Still moo, though a perceptible 1/8th of an inch less moo than before.
Second time through, a $30 steak returned once. I told the waiter not to return it a second time, I just wanted the check (to his credit, there was no charge).
I may not cook professionally now, but I do damn well know that if you serve a $30 steak you cook it right the first time. But, heaven forbid, you screw up and it comes back, you damned well make it perfect the second time.
Well, at the Snake River Saloon, it was not only overpriced, but it was equally bad the second time around.
To his credit, the waiter was fairly unimpressed at the kitchen, particularly at wasting time at a table when there was a line. I also had the unconfirmed but nagging suspicion they wanted me out because I was a single on a night of couples and larger parties, but regardless, this was unimpressive to say the least.
So, moral of the story, if you're ever in Keystone, don't waste a single dollar on the Snake River Saloon. But if you want a kick-ass quesadilla, walk across the street to the Mi Casa mexican restaurant and get the Mango Duck Quesadilla.
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