Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dive of the week

The Red Lion in Vail, Colorado gets the nod as our "dive of the week," not because it's a dive in the true sense of the word but because of what it is amongst a village of businesses which take themselves pretty seriously. Taking itself seriously is something The Red Lion does not.

I've been dining at the Lion since my first visit to Vail over 30 years ago. The place consistently serves up some of the best food in the Vail Valley, yet in an atmosphere which is most definitely not Vail-like.

On Monday, the family and I went to The Red Lion after a full day of skiing. And, the place was, as always, rocking. The bar was packed and the restaurant area quickly filled up. After scoring our table, we ordered a slab-and-a-half of baby-back ribs, a plate of beef brisket, and two orders of chicken tenders.

The chicken is, in my estimation, the best tenders on the planet. They are lightly breaded, moist and the serving size, as it is for all entrees, is huge.

The ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender. And, for a Kansas Citian who takes his barbecue seriously, they were outstanding. The brisket was a bit overdone but that's being picky--the amount, quality and value of our meal was--yes, that term again--very un-Vail like.

The Red Lion has been in Vail since 1962. Started by a family named Burdick, the establishment was purchased by Vail locals in 1988 and has been run by a local group since then. Thankfully, the quality has remained constant throughout and its location, close by the base of Vail mountain, makes the Lion the perfect spot for apres ski beverages and a hearty meal.

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