Village Talk

Where to Find a Five-Course Dinner Served in a Gondola

The Blue Plate takes guests upon a culinary journey aboard the restaurant's new tasting gondolas.

By Ted Katauskas November 12, 2019 Published in the Holiday 2019/2020 issue of Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine

Last winter, Adam Roustom sought to create a culinary experience like none other in the valley. So the 1999 graduate of the New England Culinary Institute trucked a pair of gondolas from Vermont (he won’t say if they came from Stowe or Killington) and plopped them down outside the Blue Plate, a bistro quartered in Avon’s Boat Building known for upscale ski-town-inspired comfort food like the restaurant’s signature meatloaf, a leaning tower of beef and Italian sausage in pomegranate molasses that’s served with steak fries, peas, and mashed potatoes slathered with Dijon onion gravy. The Blue Plate Chef’s Tasting Gondolas—named “Hansel” and “Gretel”—are appointed with reclaimed barn wood and tables Balz Arrigoni found at a Bavarian resort and fabrics Roustom’s wife, Elli, sourced from a shop in her Bad Ischl hometown, and they afford Roustom an opportunity to return to his classically trained roots, with flair. And that he does. With four artistically plated courses passed through the doors of the heated gondola, starting, perhaps, with a salad of pea shoots grown on premises and garnished with crispy brie and Styrian pumpkin oil vinaigrette, followed by a lobster popover with saffron cream (a recipe from Lydia Shire, a James Beard Award-winning Boston chef he once cooked under), true striped bass with lemon emulsion, and flourless chocolate cake with fresh berries and whipped cream. Or whatever inspires.

“I wanted to do something special, and it gives me an outlet as a chef,” says Roustom, who landed his first restaurant job on Cape Cod as a 12-year-old, “to create an experience to take you on a trip with the food and the wine.”

Cocooned in a dramatically lit gondola, savoring dish after dish, is to be transported. From $89 per person, plus $45 with wine pairings;

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