The clang of slot machines, the flipping of cards, and the low drum of hundreds of people talking permeates the air as you enter the Ameristar Casino in Blackhawk. But there is relief, a little get away, a mountain lodge of serenity built as a beautiful timber frame lodge with slated wood walls. It offers a cozy fire place to absorb warmth by and there is excellent food to enjoy.
It is the Timberline Grill!
Chef Philippe Georges has recently upgraded the menu to incorporate the ideal of grow local. They have partnered with local dairies to bring in their expert cheeses. They use Colorado raised lamb, trout from our very own Rocky Mountains, and choice aged beef.
We had the privilege of trying a sampler of their appetizers. A plate full of Jumbo Shrimp, Smoked Trout Mousse, Crab Aspic, and Lobster Salad. The Jumbo Shrimp were too jumbo for Beth, as after three bites half was still left, but that very fact made them perfect for me. They were LARGE shrimp with just the right amount of sauce, full flavor and good texture. The Smoked Trout Mousse was smoked! It was heavily smoked, which producing a rich flavor to the mousse, complemented well with the horseradish foam, and the roasted beets made it stand out. If you love a smoked flavor, get it! If you don’t, go for the shrimp. The Crab Aspic (a gelatin) was rejected by Beth due to her years in Russia and a bad experience with Kholodets. I found it intriguing. It was of a good softness and was well presented but had a dull flavor. The Lobster Salad with an avocado base had me on edge at first. As I put it in my mouth it felt chunky but then the flavors combined into a melody of deliciousness, especially with the accompanying bread. It was a good portion and filling.
After filling ourselves most of the way with the appetizers we began studying the menu. I concluded on getting the Rack of Colorado Lamb as I was intrigued by the combination of lavender, honey, and roasted garlic. Beth settled on the Cedar Plank Skuna Bay Salmon, again due to the combination of a whiskey maple butter sauce. The lamb was arrayed nicely in the center of the plate with the honey artistically drizzled. The salmon came served on the cedar plank with a wrapped lemon and a jar of the whiskey maple butter. Beth was delighted to see the sauce come in a jar, as it calmed her worry of having to ration the sauce. The lamb was cooked exactly as I asked and Beth (a non lamb liker) said it was the best lamb she has had and actually asked for another bite. The sauce was plentiful and good and the lamb tasty, but I wouldn’t go back solely for the lamb. The salmon on the other hand was exquisite and worth any trip. The only bad thing was that it was hard for me to get more as I was sitting on the opposite side of the table and Beth was standing guard.
The dessert was a Chocolate Blackout Cake drizzled with raspberry flavoring and backed with a chocolate crisp. It did not look restaurant made nevertheless is was scrumptious and amply big enough to fill any chocolate lovers needs.
The service was enjoyable. We were lead by the hostess, who's dress was much too short, to a nice booth. The moment we sat down we had a bowl of bread placed at our table and I do not think my cup of water ever reached half way before it was refilled. Well done! Our server, April, was a delight to talk to and was very genuine. And although she is one of the newest servers (being there only a little over a year) she is one of the best! Ask for her whenever you go!