The Roaring Fork — brunch and steaks

13 Aug

I had been to the Roaring Fork before, but when I heard that there was a new brunch menu, I decided it was time for another visit.  So four of us arrived on a recent Sunday to see what the new menu had to offer.

As always, we were promptly seated upon arrival.  The first slight problem in our visit came when one of our group — a dedicated meat-eater — asked the hostess if the usual steaks were available in addition to the new menu, and she said that they were not, and that only the items on the brunch menu were available.

Now, one of the virtues of the Roaring Fork is that unlike most of the local steakhouses, it is open for lunch (albeit only on the weekends), and another virtue is that three steaks — a filet, a New York strip, and a ribeye — are always available during lunch, despite not being printed on the menu. Fortunately, we asked our waiter when she appeared and were told that the steaks and the side dishes were definitely available. Managers — train your host staff!

So everything was good to go, and the meal started pleasantly with a complimentary plate of cinnamon rolls.

Cinnamon Rolls

The rolls were fresh from the oven, warm, and recently drizzled with icing. The bread reminded me of brioche. Studded with pecans, these cinnamon rolls were so rich and good that they could have been a meal in themselves.  The waiter obligingly brought another plate when these disappeared.

As an appetizer, the chicken flatbread was again a winner.

Chicken flatbread

The flatbread was covered with pepper jack cheese, tasty shredded chicken, roasted peppers, and tomatoes. Drizzled with basil pesto, the flatbread was more than enough for four to share.

One of our group ordered a Caesar salad.

Caesar salad

Crisp, chopped romaine lettuce was topped by shavings of parmesan cheese and accented by a Caesar dressing that was not overly heavy on the anchovy. A nice touch was the slice of toasted flatbread served in lieu of the routine croutons.

Two of our party decided to split a 22-oz ribeye.

Ribeye steak

The meat was tender and juicy and the steak was cooked to medium-rare perfection.  The server was happy to set up the table so the steak could be shared.

In fact, one of the sub-themes of the Roaring Fork seems to be shared dishes.  The sides are large enough for 2 or 3 people to share.  One favorite is the Yukon gold mashed potatoes.

Yukon gold mashed potatoes

These rich, creamy potatoes were an excellent complement to the steak, as was the grilled street corn.

Grilled street corn

Bits of onion, tomato and cilantro went well with  the corn flavor.  Both of these sides came in small cast-iron kettles that made them easy to pass and share.

From the new brunch menu came the interesting RF Stack.

RF Stack

One crisply fried corn tortilla was covered with green chili pork stew, then topped with another crisp corn tortilla. Fried egg topped the stack, and salsa, cilantro and grated jack cheese garnished the dish.  The flavors worked well together and the dish had some crunch due to the fried corn tortillas.  Kudos to the chef for using the crispy tortillas whole and not wimping out by using fried strips.

The meaty, spicy green pork chili stew was also featured in another brunch offering

Green pork chili stew with eggs

A cast-iron skillet of the stew came with oven-roasted eggs on top.  The combination of hearty stew and rich egg was simply excellent.  Unfortunately, the tortillas were not homemade, tasted bland and reheated, and were a distraction to the dish. Why not serve some of that fresh, crisp flatbread instead?

No brunch would be complete without dessert, and as full as we were, we managed to try three. The fruit pie of the day was apple and date.

Apple and date pie

Sliced apples and rich dates were baked together en croute, and the result was an individual pie with luscious filling and  too much crust, as the exterior crust was somewhat too thick.  Served warm with ice cream, the pie was good, but a lot of crust was left on the plate.

The toffee chocolate pecan pie was another choice.

Chocolate pecan pie

Served as the more traditional wedge, this slice of pie was very sweet. The toffee and chocolate flavors worked well together, the pecans added a nice crunch,  and the accompanying ice cream helped to cut the sweetness, while the crust was flaky and firm.

The huckleberry cheesecake was the third choice.

Huckleberry cheesecake

This individual cheesecake came with a sturdy graham cracker crust. It was pretty to look at, and as a cheesecake it was creamy and rich, but there was very little berry flavor either in the cheesecake or the accompanying sauce.

Throughout the meal, the service was excellent, and overall the food was very good.  And for sure, with the size of portions at the Roaring Fork, no one will walk away hungry.

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