Monument's renovated Sundance Lodge takes shaky, unusual aim with Oakley's Café

Step into Oakley's Café & Bistro at the Sundance Mountain Lodge (formerly the Falcon Inn), and you'll discover a western theme tastefully carried out with hearty wood tables and iron chairs. Bright blue and yellow paint and decorative light fixtures are enhanced by a wall of windows looking out onto the pool area, fire pit and the Front Range.

Then, confusion.

Just off the café entrance is a dark room with tube lighting. In this somewhat retro-hip lounge, low-slung couches sit below Thelonious Monk and George Gershwin album covers. When I inquired about this space, I was told it's the "bistro."

Cool, no doubt, but given that both spaces work off the same menu and bar, having a seating option between such disparate décor is just odd.

Unfortunately, it's not the only head-scratcher you'll encounter at Oakley's, a work-in-progress where exciting highs are numbed by disenchanting lows.

In August, we learned the place was in the process of redesigning a menu that would be basically completed by September; but in recent visits, I was told the menu and dining areas are still in transition.

On the menu at present, you'll encounter one of my pet peeves: fancy verbiage designed to make dishes appear more upscale. When did the word "appetizer" become a bad thing? Why "tapas"?

I can assure you, the rich, salty, crispy mountain of waffle-cut fries ($9.50) with sprinkled bacon, bleu cheese and green onion, drizzled with ranch dressing and a tangy, spicy buffalo sauce, looked nothing like a tapas plate (traditionally a small side dish). High point: They tasted damn good and would have made a great accompaniment to a cold beer and a game. Low point: They arrived with the entrées, leaving us eating triage style, prioritizing our bites before room temperature claimed them.

Word games continue across the Oakley's menu. My overpriced Sundance "Piccatta" ($15) with a caper, lemon and tequila cream sauce, didn't bear any resemblance to a true piccata. Instead, I received a small bowl of bland penne with a dry, unbreaded piece of chicken that had been cut into strips and placed on top, nary a caper in sight. I'm all for creative license, but there's a point at which you can conceptualize yourself out of the right to define your dish in traditional terms.

The Reuben ($9.50), though sporting a delicious green chili Thousand Island and overall good flavor, required a fork and knife to cut through tough meat. At breakfast, the Colorado Benedict ($8.95) proved stellar, two perfectly poached eggs topped with chopped avocado and tomato, accompanied by crisp fried potatoes. But the menu describes a green chili hollandaise, and ours had no green chili or spiciness. Finally, a soggy center diminished the otherwise tasty Hawaiian sweet bread French toast ($6.95).

I do remember one moment of true delight: Eating a brightly colored Italian peach and mango sorbet ($3.95), I found it so tangy and sweet that my jaw tingled.

Since the lodge and restaurant are admittedly still in a growing phase, I'll take that memory, and a few others, as signs of good things yet to come. Once the staff solidifies its menu and milieu, its sense of style should shine through.


Related Locations


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Appetite

Readers also liked…

Related User Lists

People who saved…

Popular Events

  • 43rd Annual Arts & Craft Fair, Palmer Lake @ Palmer Lake Town Hall

    • Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free
  • Colorado Springs Acupuncture for Veterans @ VFW Post 101

    • Wednesdays, 6-8 p.m. Continues through June 7 Free
  • Rockabilly Expo @ Colorado Springs City Auditorium

  • Beginner Tai Chi Class @ Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs

    • Wednesdays-Saturdays, 9:45-10:45 a.m. Continues through Dec. 30 $15; first class free
  • Colorado Springs Kidney Walk @ Memorial Park

    • Sun., Oct. 2, 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Donations accepted
    • Buy Tickets

More by Monika Mitchell Randall

  • Gurney grubbin'

    Dine & Dash
    • Sep 22, 2011
  • Panang and pancakes

    Dine & Dash
    • Sep 15, 2011
  • 'F' is for ... food?

    Dine & Dash
    • Aug 25, 2011
  • More »

Top Viewed Stories

All content © Copyright 2016, The Colorado Springs Independent   |   Website powered by Foundation