The Review.

An in-depth analysis of new and existing restaurants in the Vail Valley.


A follow up visit to Kelly Liken.

Soon after it opened a season or two ago we tried this eponymous restaurant in the Gateway Building at the entrance to Vail Village.  The chef/owner opened the business when she left the Grouse Mountain Grill in Beaver Creek.

Our first go around with the place was not particularly positive, but we had enough questions remaining when we left that night to not attempt to rate the restaurant based on the initial experience.

As it's now the off season (June 6, 2007), the menu pricing of 50% off certain food items as well as limited wine selections was just too good to pass up, so we dined there again last night.

Happily we had a better seating arrangement than the first time around - and no crying child at the table next to us.  The interior of the restaurant is very attractively decorated although we found the music a bit loud for our tastes, it was not so much so distracting that we couldn't enjoy a conversation.

This evening Sue & I had completely different menu selections - something we did not do the first time around.  We each had a wine by the glass to start with - hers was a Garnache. and mine a Chenin.  We opted out of any appetizers; she ordered a fish dish; mine was chicken, and we had a bottle of decent Australian Riesling with the meal.

 Meal Highlights:  Pretty much everything about each of our meals was satisfactory.  The bread course was basic stuff - a good crusty sourdough or a tasty olive bread.  Wines were all pleasant and were served in decent quality stemware at the proper temperature.  The staff was quite professional - accommodating but not overly intrusive.  The amuse bouche was a tiny flagon of pureed fennel soup and was delightful.   

Sue's grilled halibut was perfectly cooked as was my poached chicken on a square of fried risotto.  Portions were sufficient, but barely so.  For desert we tried the cheese plate and it too, was very tasty.  All the "value" wines we ordered were eminently drinkable and quite food friendly.

Lowlights:  There really weren't any of major note.  The wines by the glass were served in small beakers which the waitress poured completely into the glasses immediately.  We'd prefer to do that kind of pouring ourselves -  maybe a bit less at a time.  Music was a bit loud.  Portions are "modern" in size, but in all honesty, I'd say a bit too skewed to the small side.  The cheese plate in particular was disappointing in that regard and definitely not a decent value for the cost - particularly when compared to what the Wildflower offers.  In all honesty, given the smallish portions for everything we ate, I'd suggest that the only time the restaurant can be considered a decent value is during the off season with the "half off" prices.  

Synopsis:  Kelly Liken is really a nice new upscale addition to the town's list of quality dining spots.  It clearly is comparable in quality to the likes of Sweet Basil and La Tour.  Despite our reservations about the portion control, we can award them a and will definitely visit here again (but only in the off season).

Reviewed by ORP on 06/05/2007


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