Food For Thought: REV, Hotel Madeline
Telluride Inside… and Out is ramping up our food coverage to include reviews, commentary and more recipes – with a little help from our new friend and professional colleague, Marla Meridith, founder, editor and photographer of the fabulous food blog, FamilyFreshCooking.com. (You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook: Food, Facebook: Lifestyle, Pinterest, and Instagram.)
What do we mean by “leading hotel”? Well, last summer it was announced with some fanfare that Hotel Madeline, in Mountain Village, was officially part of an elite group known as The Leading Hotels of the World.
As the largest luxury hotel collection in the world– and a major marketing engine – The Leading Hotels of the World is an elite club that now includes 430 of the world’s greatest properties in over 80 countries, all unique and independent. Rather than pasteurizing a destination in the name of corporate-mandated sameness, each hotel in the fraternity celebrates the culture of its destination. The newly rebranded (in 2011) Hotel Madeline Telluride stands out among the most desirable addresses in the San Juan range of southwestern Colorado.
REV is Madeline’s fine dining address.
REV’s executive chef is Cory Sargent; its Chef de Cuisine is Bud Thomas, best known locally as “Chef Bud” of the Wilkinson Public Library’s ever popular “Books & Cooks” series.
Chef Bud learned the skills required to run a successful, award-winning kitchen while working for top restaurants such as Loews Ventana Canyon Resort and Café Terra Cotta in Tucson, Arizona, Les Saveurs and The Collection in London, England, and The Peaks Resort and Golden Door Spa, also in Telluride. Over the past five years, dishes prepared by Bud and other chefs during the aforementioned Books & Cooks events amount to an encyclopedia of popular and more obscure recipes: sushi and BBQ to chicken liver pate and the Danish sweet Ebelskiver.
At the dinner we four shared at REV the Friday night of Mushroom Festival weekend, Chef Bud once again managed to tickle our taste buds into submission.
Chef Bud is the opposite of an artist with attitude, a description which covers all too many talented and popular chefs. Despite a busy day – Bud hosted the Library’s popular Mushroom Cook-off earlier that afternoon and the restaurant was packed that night – he remained calm, cool and collected as he described the feast to come.
No surprise, in Bud’s kitchen the credo is less is more. And why not? REV is a farm-to-table restaurant. With high quality fresh ingredients, it is best to get out of the way and let the natural flavors do the talking.
Following a medley of colorful designer drinks (Marla will cover them. I did not indulge), dinner featured a starter of gazpacho soup, made with regionally grown heirloom tomatoes, avocado, lemon. Fresno chili provided the kick. A medley of salads and appetizers came next. My favorites were the Dinosaur Kale and bread crumb, made with lemon, olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano, and the crispy pork belly garnished with vanilla peaches and grilled bread.
Mushrooms of all kinds (hawk wings, boletus, chanterelles, local favorites) showed up in the side dishes accompanying the banquet of main courses: halibut, Alsatian chicken, braised beef short ribs and pan-roasted beef tenderloin. Every dish, understated and elegant.
REV’s simple elegance is the perfect complement to Chef Buds’s food. There is plenty of elbow room in the softly lit room, which emphasizes comfort over drama. Carpeting and well-upholstered booths ensure a meal seasoned with conversation. (Though at one point, in a more open space at the large round table where we were seated, the din from the crowd did impact our nonstop conversations.)
At REV, nothing is canned, especially not the service. Ask the well-trained staff for advice with impunity. Our waitress was Marnie, whom we knew from a past life when she worked as a tech at the Telluride Veterinary Clinic. Marnie, like Bud, is confident and unflappable. She accommodated our every wish with an ease that inspired a generous response.
Now take it away Marla…
Sometimes a certain kinda magic happens that you least expect. Right in your own backyard.
Restaurant REV is a gem located in the Hotel Madeline, in Mountain Village, here in the heart of the Telluride Ski Resort. Though the restaurant has not been around long, the dining experience is top notch. As if it has been around for quite awhile, with a seasoned chef and staff.
Mountain Village has been trying to dig into the dining scene here in the Telluride region….REV hits all the marks above and beyond. All the buzz about this particular watering hole has been great, so I was very happy when I finally got to taste what folks have been raving (REVing?) about.
Let’s begin where it all begins, with Chef Bud, REV’s Chef de Cuisine. We go way back. Nothing too crazy, but back in 2010 (right after I launched my blog FamilyFreshCooking.com), Bud and I were exchanging emails. We were trying to have me join in on his successful Books & Cooks series at Telluride’s public library. We had a fine time talking food blogger stuff – then years went by. I moved to the region. We wound up judging Telluride Mushroom Festival cook-off together….And later the same day, I enjoyed his fine cooking at REV.
Yes, I’m a lucky gal.
I was invited to bring a dinner guest to balance out our party of four. My long time pal Glider Bob joined us in the feast. Oh and what a feast it was! A great foursome and the conversation flowed as easily as the service.
Chef Bud asked us how we wanted to arrange our tasting. We all agreed to let the kitchen decide.
The flavors were fresh, seasonal and took full advantage of local offerings. Lots of mushrooms included…Which tied in with the bounty of our local mountains. Let’s not forget the kind, attentive service and great-for-a-date atmosphere. The bright red bar tucked into the corner of the restaurant is a visual anchor to the understated elegance of the seating.
So what did we eat and drink?
To start, we had signature cocktails…Why taste one cocktail when you can have a few? We enjoyed the REV’d up Cosmo (fruity & sweet), the Cucumber Crisp (light and spa-like), and the Spicy Sunshine Tequilini (spicy & bright).
Let’s talk the food. We were served Gazpacho soup with the most unique presentation: the tear drop bowl had a dollop of guacamole in the center around which was poured a carafe of fresh tomato gazpacho. An island with a sea of flavors. Brilliant (and beautiful to behold) in every way.
Appetizers. OMG. Crispy Soft Shell Crab…I recall nearly fighting over that dish. Ok, not quite, but almost. With a sweet corn and chorizo ragu, baby arugula and roasted tomato aioli. You dip, bite, crunch…..close your eyes and savor the flavors. Crispy Braised Pork Belly was also a treat. A little goes a long way when it comes to this rich dish. Accompanied by vanilla peaches…A tasty and unusual combo of flavors. Grilled New Caledonian Prawns were lovely, with a house-made apple bbq sauce.
To balance out the heavier flavors we also enjoyed the Bibb Lettuce salad, Heirloom Tomato & Beet Salad, and my personal favorite ( like Susan)….the Dinosaur Kale & Bread Crumb Salad.
Entrées…..oh my! We indulged in flavors and textures from land and sea. Let’s talk chicken. Boring you say? Well, we all grabbed for that dish last, but I gotta tell you it was spectacular! The Alsatian Chicken was served over a bed of farro risotto, peas, carrots & kale pesto. Pan Roasted Beef Tenderloin was cooked to perfection and accompanied by sautéed asparagus and wild mushrooms. Line Caught Pacific Halibut was colorful and light. Mushrooms, paprika, asparagus and parsley jus grounded the dish. An absolute knock out in presentation and flavor was the Braised Beef Short Rib, served with buttermilk mashed potatoes and spring veggies. I kept dipping into the side of Creamy Polenta with Wild Mushrooms & Cheese. I dream about that dish. All of ’em actually.
Dessert. Ahhhhhh. Sweet treats. Sweet bliss. We were presented a platter with a lot of A LOT! Dark Chocolate Pudding in a tuile cookie cup took center stage. It was surrounded by Creme Brûlée & Lemon Tarts. All the treats were the perfect ending to our fantastic dining experience.
If you find yourself in Mountain Village (Telluride, CO), you will be thrilled with a meal at REV.
And say hi to Chef Bud for me if you visit!
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