Krabloonik |


by Benjamin Welch
NOT TO MISS Dogsledding down a groomed, rocky-terrain trail with lunch, s’mores or libations after. Game tartare, a local favorite, after skiing.Cocktails and conversation by the wood stove. THE DETAILS 4250 Divide Road • 970-923-3953 • Prices Starters, $12 to $18; soup, $10; entrees, $18 to $55; desserts, $9 Ambience Rustic, casual dining with a cabin-in-the- woods feeling. Signature dishes Wild boar scallopine with wild mushroom sauce, truffle mashed potatoes and vegetable medley; grilled elk loin with apricot bordelaise and veggies; smoked salmon with balsamic glace with wild rice and vegetables.

Krabloonik mountain dining and dogsledding has been a fixture in the Snowmass dining scene more than 40 years, serving specialty wild game dishes and offering a unique dogsledding experience with its team of 210 canines.

But don’t think taking a ride on its fleet of traditional, handmade, mahogany sleds is requisite; the food at Krabloonik can certainly stand on its own. And though it previously had the reputation as only a place for fine dining, the ski-in restaurant also is good for aprés or grabbing a moscow mule along with appetizers like its game tartare, or for filling up on its buffalo burger for lunch.

“This year, we’re making it so it’s like going into grandma’s house,” says Danny Phillips, who along with his wife, Gina, owns Krabloonik. “Cozy and comfortable with homemade food, we want to focus on this really great place and making it more inviting for everybody.”

After a day on the slopes, the appetizers at Krabloonik are both exotic and substantial. Try the classic Krabloonik baked brie with poached pears, almonds and lingonberry jelly. The game tartare has been a Krabloonik staple for years, and is a favorite of regulars. The hickory-smoked trout is locally sourced, as are many of the ingredients on the menu.

Chef Reto Luzi makes freshness a priority, and the vegetable medley he serves with many dishes (along with wild rice or potatoes) varies depending on what’s in season and what Luzi can find fresh.

“We source as much locally as we can,” he says.

He’s also especially proud of the fish dishes, which in addition to trout include a grilled lemon caper halibut drizzled with beurre blanc.

But still, no Krabloonik experience would be complete without at least sampling the variety of big game entrees that the restaurant, the building of which has evolved from an old trapper’s cabin, has prided itself on since 1982: Wild boar scallopine, grilled elk loin, rack of Colorado lamb and filet mignon with blackberry demi glace.

“We’ve kind of taken menus from the past and harmonized this menu to broaden it a bit and make it more approachable for everybody,” Gina Phillips says.

Rustic charm is abundant at Krabloonik, where the dining room is heated by a wood stove and is brightened with a warm ambience set by gas lighting. Grab a seat at the bar after skiing — or a dogsled ride — and sip from one (or two or five) of nearly a dozen craft martinis, or select from a considerable wine and whiskey list.

This isn’t the Krabloonik of yesteryear, but with a revamped menu and emphasis on back-home, family meals, you could still say it’s an old-fashioned experience.

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