WITH A RENAISSANCE IN DINING, STEAMBOAT SPRINGS HAS EVOLVED INTO A WORTHY FOODIE DESTINATION.
Dessert at Sauvage in Steamboat Springs caps a multicourse culinary journey. PHOTO BY VICTORIA VINOKUROVA
Yampa Valley Kitchen’s inventive cocktails. PHOTO BY DUSTIN POSIAK-TRIDER
Charcuterie at Meatbar. PHOTO BY DUSTIN POSIAK-TRIDER
WHEN VICTORIA VINOKUROVA saw a “for lease” sign in the old electric company building on Yampa Street in Steamboat Springs, she had a vision for a restaurant that would deliver the kind of elevated hospitality and aesthetic presentation found at places like Frasca in Boulder. She was drawn to the space specifically because it had not been a restaurant. “Restaurants have a living soul existing in their walls,” she says. “It’s about culinary history.”
In 2020, Vinokurova launched Sauvage (sauvage-restaurant. com), a gourmet Frenchinspired multicourse culinary experience. The atmosphere is polished, the service relaxed yet attentive. Despite the pandemic, restaurants like Sauvage, Yampa Valley Kitchen, Primrose, Inclusions Bakery, and Meatbar opened up in this laid-back ski town known more for Stetsons, cowboy boots and Champagne powder.
At Sauvage, executive chef Garrett Kasper, formerly of Denver’s Brown Palace Hotel, adds an element of whimsy to his preparation. Dinner starts with a dainty spoonful of lobster salad, caviar and pickled tomatillos designed to agitate the palate. The beet salad comes with a bite of red velvet cake, a historical nod to World War II food rationing, where beets were used to dye the iconic cake red. And the lemongrass panna cotta arrives garnished with a grate of caramelized sugar.
Situated inside a century-old home, Yampa Valley Kitchen (yampavalleykitchen.com) opened in summer 2020 for breakfast and lunch. “Steamboat has evolved over the years. We have talented chefs bringing new cuisine to the table,” says Hannah Hopkins, YVK co-owner. “We feed off each other.” The restaurant takes an uncompromising approach to using locally sourced, organic and sustainable ingredients with eggs from nearby Hayden Fresh Farm and greens from Bee Grateful Farms. Cocktails like the Beet Down Sour, in a dazzling magenta hue, are a delight and can be made zero-proof with Seedlip, a nonalcoholic distilled spirit that’s botanical and herbaceous with a hint of bitter and citrus. “It’s the taste you need to lift everything up in a cocktail,” Hopkins says.
Laura Posiak, known in Steamboat Springs as “Laura the Butcher,” embraces European-style butchery, adventurous foods and zero-waste processing. She learned about nose-to-tail butchery and the art of charcuterie while working at a bed-and-breakfast in Italy. She brought her approach to Steamboat with the home delivery of custom meat, cheese and fruit boards. Now you can visit Meatbar (laurathebutcher.com) for wine and charcuterie boards in an upscale new space on Lincoln Street, inside the historic Steamboat Pilot building. Look for the Spanish jamón legs hanging in the window.