February 10, 2004
“Krabloonik” is an Eskimo word meaning “Big Eyebrows,” what the Eskimos call the white man. Krabloonik was also the name of the first “lead” sled dog raised by owner Dan MacEachen. In his desire to preserve and promote dying art of dog sledding the kennel and the restaurant were born back in the early 70’s.
Dining at Krabloonik is like an undeniably over-the-top fantasy of what the most outrageously romantic, authentically rustic Colorado cabin dining experience should be like. Nestled atop Divide Road at Snowmass Village, the “hike in” is merely a short series of steps leading down to the charming cabin where the magic happens. Though by no means an exerting walk, wear sensible shoes, especially in the winter, as there tends to be ice patches from time to time. This is the Rockies, after all.
As soon as you’ve nestled into the coziness of your surroundings and managed to stop marveling at where you are, you should turn your attention to the menu, which is so simple and straightforward that you’ll be surprised at how difficult a time you’ll have making a decision.
If you never listen to another word I say, listen now–start with the wild mushroom soup ($4.95). Whatever your thoughts on mushrooms, whatever your thoughts on soup, just do this. And make sure you get your own. Not wanting to seem gluttonous, we made the mistake of ordering just one cup and two spoons. It was mystically delicious, and the thought of getting more of it consumed me throughout the rest of the evening.
The menu at Krabloonik changes every two weeks according to availability, however, the sauces and the way the meat is prepared can change daily. The meat is prepared on the premises,(they smoke all the meats in their own smokehouse) so you get only the choicest of the choice. Smoked specialties include; Caribou, Elk, Pheasant, Wild Boar, Salmon and Trout.
The fish choices for the evening were the very freshest Rocky Mountain trout saut»ed with lime ginger vinaigrette ($22.50), New Zealand blue nose grouper ($27.75.) and the Sterling Salmon with wilted spinach and blood oranges ($26.50) which was stunningly delectable.
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Also available; Noisettes of caribou, frilled and served over a calvados demi, apple chutney ($42.75), grilled elk chops with truffled mushroom cream ($42.75), roasted loin of white tail deer with cilantro peach relish ($45.75.) There are also two combination game entree platters available, each with smaller portions of three different meats and their accompanying sauces.
Then there’s fowl: boneless breast of quail saut»ed with onion and mushroom confit and finished with sun dried cranberry glac» ($27.50.) And speaking of cranberries, this would be a good time to point out that Krabloonik’s very own pastry chef Jane Stuben makes the homemade preserves, bakes the delicious breads and makes the outrageously beautiful, can’t refuse even if you’re stuffed, desserts. The bread is brought to your table absolutely fresh and piping hot. Desserts are paraded out to your table after dinner, and just assume from the getgo that you don’t have enough will power to refute trying at least one. Fortunately both the preserves and the wild mushroom soup are available for purchase.
Other fowl that evening included the roasted Pintelle pheasant with fontina and blood orange marinara ($35.75), and half a Scottish pheasant roasted with sweet wine and shitake mushrooms for $32.50. Oh, and while wine is on your mind, Krabloonik has the end all of wine lists. To say that it is extensive would not begin to describe it. If you have heard of it, they have it. If you haven’t heard of it, they have it. Or if you are immobilized by all the choices you could ask longtime manager, Gary Watts, to choose the right wine to compliment your meal.
Another example of how much the folks at Krabloonik care about their food is the dinner salad which comes with each entree. Let’s face it, if you’re ordering something as exotic at the wild boar tenderloin with roasted red pepper and Madeira glac» ($36.50), the dinner salad could easily be a throwaway formality. Gotta have a few bites of leafy greens, right? Well, the dinner salad at Krabloonik could easily sum up what the restaurant is about: It is a simple, field green salad with the most amazing vinaigrette I’ve ever tasted, perfectly dressed with sliced, blanched almonds. It isn’t easy to get excited over a dinner salad, but when you take the kind of care that Krabloonik takes, it’s impossible not to be excited. My companion got excited about the butter.
Lunch at Krabloonik is a three course, $25 prixe fixe menu, offering soup or salad, your choice of at least eight different entrees, dessert and a beverage. Also available at lunch times are the dog sled rides, one sled, which can carry two adults and a small child is pulled by 13 Alaskan Sled Dogs, and is controlled by an experienced musher. Half day trips (2 hours) include a complimentary 4 course lunch.
Whether you choose to go to Krabloonik for lunch, when you can experience the magnificent views of Mount Daily and Capital Peak and watch the sled teams come and go, or for dinner, on a snowy winter’s night when you can cozy up in front of the fire, the adventure will be unforgettable.