As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’ve been on the road lately with my book tour for Powder Ghost Towns. On Tuesday, those travels took me to Steamboat Springs, one of my favorite Colorado mountain towns. Looking for a restaurant recommendation where I could eat dinner, I stopped in at the Epilogue Book Company, which was hosting me for that night’s slide show and book signing. They wholeheartedly recommended the Mahogany Ridge Brewery & Grill (970.879.3773, 5th Street and Lincoln Avenue).
I’ll admit, I was wary. I used to love local brewpubs – Kelli and I have been to more than our fair share over the years. But since going gluten-free, I’ve found they can be difficult places to eat. I can’t drink the beer. And often, foods that might otherwise be gluten-free get beer-battered in the local brew. However, as I strolled past the front of the restaurant, the smells were too good to ignore. I stepped inside to inquire if they had a gluten-free menu, fully expecting them to say “glu-what?”
I was delighted to find that they have a gluten-free menu! (You can read about my similar delight at finding a gluten-free menu at Mi Casa in Breckenridge here.) It turns out that many Steamboat locals have been asking for GF dishes. What’s more, the GF menu offered a nice variety of salads, appetizers, and entrees. Mahogany’s signature entrees are what they call the “dipping entrees,” where you pair a protein with one of many possible dipping sauces. Adobo-rubbed lamb sirloin. Caribbean jerk-spiced duck breast. Vietnamese sizzling tofu. Not your standard pub fare.
Tuesday happens to be Latin night, which meant that Mahogany offered an alternative menu, rather than the standard dipping entrees. Although I could have ordered off the GF menu, the Latin offerings sounded too good to pass up. The helpful waitstaff talked with the chef to confirm which dishes could be prepared gluten-free. I ordered the citrus ginger grilled pork tenderloin, which was served medium. It came with a poblano chile – yucca hashbrown, mole amarillo, shoestring crispy corn tortillas, and a sizzling side plate of vegetables. I was in taste bud heaven. And I paired the dish with a mojito…always a nice treat.
Steamboat and Mahogany Ridge surprised me in the best of ways: a gluten-free menu with delicious, high-end cuisine you wouldn’t normally find at your local brewery. The next time I’m in Steamboat, you can bet you’ll find me at Mahogany for dinner, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to others. Bon appetit!
UPDATE: December 17, 2009
To truly review a restaurant, protocol dictates that you visit at least twice. Back in November, Kelli and I traveled to Steamboat with Marin to celebrate our wedding anniversary, and we made a return to Mahogany Ridge for our special dinner. Having had such a positive gluten-free dining experience the first time I around, I was excited to go back…and to introduce Kelli to the restaurant. We were both salivating over the prospect of setting our sights on Mahogany’s signature Dipping Entrees. (You can see the restaurant’s full menu here, on their MySpace page.)
I was even more wowed by the food this time around than last. (And again ate happily and safely gluten-free.) The Dipping Entree menu includes eleven entrees – ranging from lamb to chicken, buffalo, beef, duck, elk, and several kinds of fish. Nearly all of those entrees are naturally gluten-free (or can be prepared gluten-free). Then, you pair your choice of entree with any two of 20 house-made sauces. Again, the majority of the sauces are gluten-free (and the GF menu indicates which ones are good to go). You can stick with Mahogany’s recommended sauce pairings for your entree, or mix it up to suit your preferences.
For my entree, I ordered the Yucatan Pork Tenderloin, which was an achiote-rubbed pork tenderloin, grilled medium. I paired it with the Smoked Tomato Demi Glace, which was a veal stock reduction with smoked roma tomatoes. There’s only one way I can describe the meal: DIVINE. And I don’t use all caps lightly.
We’re headed back to Steamboat again in January. (I have a book signing and slide show at Epilogue Book Company.) There’s no question where I’m going for dinner… it’s Mahogany all the way. (So many Dipping Entrees and sauces, so little time…)