An in-depth analysis of new and existing restaurants in the Vail Valley.
Heading down valley we finally get to enjoy The French Press.
Ah, thank goodness for the off season and these great 50% of entree deals that so many of our local dining establishments offer. Without that kind of discount we'd pass trying many of the newer restaurants that seem to pop up almost every month.
The French Press is located in the same Edwards Riverwalk commercial project where Frites and Juniper also are standouts. Apparently the "Press" is the second invocation of a restaurant in its current space. The first obviously failed for what could be any number of reasons.
The interior of this facility would best be described as bistro. High ceilings, open table seatings, and less than a handful of booths defined the area. Despite what should have been noisy floors too, the place was surprisingly easy in which to hold a quiet conversation - something we view as pretty important while trying to enjoy an evening of food and wine.
OK. Let's get on with the meal. The menu's fairly simple but covers most of generally requested cuts of meat, fish, or fowl. It purports to be "classically inspired" with fresh touches. Sue was talked into trying the special house salad by our wait person, Julian, who by the way was just outstanding. He was helpful, knowledgeable, friendly, and had just the kind of attitude that we'd appreciate finding in other restaurants in the valley.
For main courses, Sue chose the venison and I, the beef tenderloin. For desert we shared a crème brulee, something we tend to buy at most new dining places just to compare the same dish prepared in different ways. I had a glass of St. Michelle pinot gris as as starter, and we shared a bottle of Crios Mendoza with the meal.
Meal Highlights: The salad was delicious some candied pecans counter pointing the balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Both red meat dishes were delightful - wonderful sauces and ample portions. Vegetables were crisp. The waiter was, as previously mentioned, just outstanding. Wine prices! Terrific for a change. With a nicely rounded out list, the moderate markups are very appealing.
Lowlights: Really not much to mention, but the rosemary tinged French bread course I would grade as pretty pedestrian. Wine glasses were sturdy and similarly pedestrian. Same size and shape was used for both the white and red versions - but - the wine temperatures were both perfect. Lastly, I'd regard the crème brulee attempt again as somewhat modest. Designed and presented to appear as a cup of cappuccino, the custard was way too cold and the embellishments didn't work very well.
Synopsis: Let's be honest. We like this place. It's fun, informal, and most everything was really well done. The wine prices especially were a nice change from what we're used to in Vail. The French Press clearly merits a and probably a bit more. Along with Frites, this would be the second reason we'll drive down valley for a meal from time to time.
Reviewed by ORP and SCF on 11/28/2007
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