The Review.

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

At the Sonnenalp Resort we try The Swiss Chalet.

A couple of years ago a building addition to the Sonnenalp allowed a new restaurant to be added to this quite upscale hotel operation here in Vail.

As usual, we tend to visit these relatively expensive eateries in the off season when prices are more affordable.  If a basic dinner for two at $58 sounds affordable, that's what our "bargain" dinner was last night at the Chalet.  By the time we'd added a couple of wines by the glass plus a bottle of low end Rose, the tab with tip had reached $150 before we waddled out the door at the end of the meal.

Designed to compliment the Tyrolean feel of the original hotel, this restaurant would be comfortable anywhere in the Alps.  The decor is distinctly woody and is as authentic as similar restaurants we've visited on previous trips to Switzerland and Austria.

Staffing is also very continental - our wait person was a charming expatriate from East Germany and most of the other wait people were also European.

The normal and "special" menus offer the type of dishes one would associate with this type of dining facility.  We chose to share the Raclette Matterhorn which included a variety of vegetables, tenderloin slices, cornichons, along with raclette, all of which we cooked on the raclette grill set up on our table.

The meal started with a delicious cheese fondue and was followed by a simple sour cream dressed lettuce salad.  Then came the main course which we cooked and consumed until our eyes bulged out.  Too much food!  The finale was a sampling of the various desert offerings - crème brulee, strudels, and a chocolate fondue.

 Meal Highlights:  There was really no fault with anything.  All the vegetables were fresh and perfectly presented as was the meat dish.  The fondue and salad were outstanding as were the desert samples.  Happily the restaurant uses Riedel stemware and changed glasses to suit the wine being served.  Temperature of the red versus white wines was just right.  We simply ate too much.

Lowlights:  My biggest and only complaint is the wine list pricing.  Egregious might best describe it.  While by-the-glass offerings were slightly on the high side, to have a simple bottle of pinot grigio like Santa Margherita priced at $60 is ridiculous. 

Synopsis:  Though this clearly is not my kind of place, the freshness and high quality of the ingredients along with excellent service and true European ambience, it does rate a  .  Sue will return here - I doubt I will.

Reviewed by ORP on 10/09/2007


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