105 Social House graces Palmer Lake with quality cuisine 

Highway star

click to enlarge The au jus with the lamb dip is “a stunner of a sauce.” - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The au jus with the lamb dip is “a stunner of a sauce.”

Every end begets a beginning, so while we lament the closure of The Villa in Palmer Lake, we’re ready to greet the hip new concept that’s replaced it. It’s called 105 Social House, and Justin Kaye, former general manager at 719 Gastropub, owns it.

Inside, the dining room appears polished and modern, a slick combination of bright greens and grays ruled by clean lines. But on a lovely afternoon, we opt for a big patio table out back, catching glimpses of folks working in the kitchen through a window.

105 offers craft brews on tap and more yet in bottles, as well as wines and a few approachable cocktails. We pick Two Roads Brewing Company’s Ok2berfest marzen, a superlative Munich-style lager with rich amber body, and the crushable, fruit-forward Chillax pineapple golden ale from Bootstrap Brewing Company. We also try a Ginger Love Collins, which uses ginger beer from Real Sugar Soda and floral Eden Mill Love gin with heavy lemon and honey for an overall citrus-forward, undersweet drink with ginger providing finishing burn.

They wash down a delicately plated and quite pleasant white bean hummus, itself a smear on the plate, topped with big, soft gigande beans and baby carrots, with pesto to one side and crostini to the other. I’d call the carrots more roasted than menu-advertised charred, but they’re tender and sweet, and the pesto’s fresh with a good Parmesan pop.

Location Details 105 Social House
75 S. Hwy. 105
Palmer Lake, CO
Noon to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday; to 8 p.m., Sunday

For our mains, we pick from entrées and sandwiches, selecting a lamb dip for the former and a chicken mushroom strudel for the latter. The lamb’s no-qualifiers-needed excellent, cooked with tomato paste, onion, garlic, rosemary and carrots, shredded and piled with tender onions and provolone in a pair of naan bread “tacos” from Springs-based Delicias Bakery. Served with salt-and-peppered fast-food-style fries, it’s great, but the au jus puts it over. The cooking liquid and veg gets hit with thyme, red wine and beef stock, then blended smooth for a stunner of a sauce bearing flavor so deep we lose our sense of dignity in the stuff and, once we’re done dipping lamb and fries, we rock-paper-scissors over who gets to drink the last of it.

We’re pretty happy with the two mini-strudels, too. A mix of chicken breast and mushrooms fills little purses of puff pastry with savory, roasty flavors. The pastry’s undercooked in places and a little blond overall. Brie cream adds a lovely richness to the affair, and balsamic reduction cuts through with sweetness and tang.

For dessert, we try a vanilla bean crème brûlée, served with a thin layer of caramel and macerated blackberries that work well with the rich, eggy-but-not-too-eggy custard. We also enjoy a ginger cherry crisp, which leads with a frankly bonkers amount of ginger paired with tart cherries. Oat topping and vanilla ice cream provide most of the sweetness. We enjoy it, but we’re ginger nuts, and the balance proves polarizing.

Throughout the course of the lovely meal, we also enjoy friendly, well-educated service; our server answers all of our questions about sourcing and ingredients without missing a beat. We end the meal with one last item: a round of beers for the kitchen, listed on the drinks menu for those feeling generous. After all, why should the end of our good time not be the beginning of someone else’s?


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