Tonight, I went out with friends for dinner at Saddle Peak Lodge and we LOVED it!
Of course, it goes without saying that it's a beautiful restaurant. It felt like someone's very fancy log cabin. :) Another thing to note before I get into the food was the service. It was awesome. Our waiter, Darren, was very knowledgeable about the food, the portions and gave a lot of great recommendations that a few of us went along with. He was just on top of everything. Later on in the evening, per our request, he even went to ask Chef Mark Murillo if he'd be willing to come up and say hello to our party. By the way, Chef Murillo actually did come up, which really made our evening complete.
As for the food, my friend and I shared the baby green salad as our appetizer. I didn't find anything that special out it, but it was good. A few in our party, per Darren's recommendation, ordered for their appetizer, the sauteed mixed mushrooms with smoked duck & cream served in puff pastry.
Everyone who ordered that appetizer raved about it. The one thing that I heard from each person was they loved the sauce. They weren't quite sure why, but the sauce, the mushrooms and smoked duck were just in perfect harmony together.
One person ordered the seared La Belle farms foie gras on candied peaches & toasted brioche, with peach puree & balsamic reduction. At first she wasn't that impressed when she took the first bite of the foie gras by itself, but when she took her fork and pierced a piece of the foi gras, some of the peaches and the brioche, she loved the melding of the flavors together.
For the main entree, the majority of us ordered the Saddle Peak Lodge's signature dish, the roasted elk tenderloin with bacon wrapped salsify, Jerusalem artichokes and creamy wild mushroom sauce, which was another Darren reco.
I wasn't sure what to expect with roasted elk. I guess I had visions of it being gamey, maybe, even tough, but that elk was melt in your mouth like butter good. I think I used my butter knife to cut it. A steak knife wasn't needed or necessary.
You add to that the smoky crunch of the bacon wrapped salsify, which tasted like a cross between asparagus and a carrot and the mushroom sauce and I was in heaven.
The second most popular dish ordered at the table that night was the buffalo "Cooked on the range",
with twice baked potato, creamed spinach and bearnaise sauce. Those who ordered also enjoyed their meal, but I think those of us who ordered the elk were more enthralled in comparison.
For dessert, a couple of us ordered the chcolate macadamia nut tart with espresso ice cream and that was definitely enjoyed. But three of us opted to share the Dessert Sampler and my goodness, for $19, you got 5 different desserts. They were all more petite portions, but even with three of us, there was still a little left over.
Those 5 desserts were the chocolate macadamia nut tart, frozen Mascarpone souffle, Dulce de leche creme brulee, fresh berries and passion fruit sorbet & warm banana and huckleberry bread pudding.
Of the five, my absolute favorite was the banana and huckleberry bread pudding. The bread being croissant bread gave this dessert a buttery richness to it and the bananas were an unusual addition. I don't think I've ever had banana bread pudding before and of course, don't forget the huckleberries. This particular bread pudding certainly wasn't very traditional, but oh so good.
The food, the atmosphere, the service was just unparalleled and of course, Chef Murillo, coming up to meet us, made the evening even more special. :) I will definitely make way back to the Saddle Peak Lodge again and again.