Monday, April 23, 2012

Charles Court wins the Chefs' Gala, West Lobby Bar goes molecularly gastronomic

Posted By on Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Lobster and shrimp tostadas (from the Colorado Springs Country Club) dont cook themselves.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Lobster and shrimp tostadas (from the Colorado Springs Country Club) don't cook themselves.

Of course, there were lots of ways to win at the 27th annual Chefs' Gala, held Sunday night at the Antlers Hilton: One could've walked with a silent auction prize, like a pair of knitted baby booties; or been a participant at the lavish $95-per-person event and eaten from some of the city's best; or been a participating restaurant, a number of which received awards in various categories. (Of course, the Colorado Springs Chorale, for whom the funds are raised, wins no matter what.)

Anyway, it was in this latter grouping that chef Greg Barnhill and The Broadmoor's Charles Court triumphed, winning Best in Show for the second year in a row, as well as best entrée, both for the STA: aka Surf, Turf, and Air. So: pan-seared diver scallops with sous-vide Kobe wagyu short ribs from Emma Farms Cattle Company and duck torchone, saffron potato purée, and bacon and spring-asparagus (from Milberger Farms) compote with Madeira-duck jus.

Other restaurants did quite well: the Club at Flying Horse won best appetizer for its smooth crawfish, shrimp and grits; Marigold Café and Bakery best dessert for its Red Berry Shortcake; and Motif the People's Choice award for its crème brûlée lollipops, set ablaze once in hand. (See a full slideshow, with pictures by Matthew Schniper, here.)

Even bigger news, maybe, is Monday's debut of a new menu for another Broadmoor stalwart: the West Lobby Bar, for whom Barnhill also cooks. Unlike anywhere in the city, all the food is created with the subdiscipline molecular gastronomy in mind, meaning food is reconstructed in ways you've never seen and won't expect: powdered basil-olive oil will melt when it hits your tongue; avocado mash finds liquid nitrogen and is reborn as a perfect ball of almost-liquid, etc.

Prices remain in the $5 to $11 range, which is pretty amazing for a venture that Barnhill says is the equal of anybody in the country, including the temple of gastronomy itself: Alinea, in Chicago.

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