By Kim Fuller Published in EAT Magazine
Come winter, the Wolcott Yacht Club closes its bustling outdoor tiki bar and patio, moving all service into a rustic-and-inviting dining room. With terra cotta styling inspired by Italian seaside villages, the space seems to dip a toe right into the Mediterranean.
“We have 70 seats in the wintertime, as opposed to hundreds outside in the summer; so we can do such a different menu, and the chefs really enjoy that,” says owner Jan-Marie Jouflas. “It’s nice for us because it’s really two different styles of doing things.”
During the winter season, kitchen captains Ryan Smith, Dan Solsbery and William Howell pull things like garlic and squash out of the large backyard garden plot, adding seasonal ingredients to inspire their dishes. From banquette seats, guests will spot a seafaring theme — a sailboat and a mermaid that make the place seem a little less land-locked — but the ocean still seems close with every bite of the lightly battered and seared blue lump crab cake. Cut your fork deep into the mass to break it open atop a silky parsnip purée; scoop up a shaved chili to add a little extra heat.
The open, wood-framed kitchen draws a lot of attention, but probably not as much as the bar. Mixologists Leslie Barnes and Ryan Souto have crafted unique drinks, such as their Drunken Hare, made with Suerte reposado tequila and fresh lemon, with salt, pepper and a cherry tomato to garnish; it’s like a more-savory-than-sweet margarita.
For Sunday brunch, meanwhile, the bloody mary steals the show.
“We like to expand people’s horizons beyond Grey Goose and Jack Daniels,” Barnes says.
Most drinks on the menu are made with Colorado spirits, like the It’s Bourbon Thyme — a mix of Breckenridge bourbon, maple, thyme, lemon and egg white. Try sharing it with the maple acorn squash shared plate.
Like the bar’s signature tonics, all accouterments are made in the kitchen. The compilation of meat on the tasting board is a must-try, with duck pastrami confit and liver mousse and cracklins alongside an apricot mostarda and figs.
While meat dishes shine here, the menu is built with options that are gluten-free and vegetarian, with something for fish lovers, too. The crisp sea bream and clams sits on a beautiful saffron cream corn emulsion, served with popcorn, fried kale, baby carrots and pearl onions. Veggie lovers will love the smokey bleu broccoli and cauliflower.
If anything, don’t miss dessert. Chocolate lovers will swoon over the espresso mousse dome; and it behooves everyone at the table to share a tower of the sweet potato donuts, drizzled with brown butter icing. For the refined palate one on a romantic date, the soft milk chocolate and mascarpone, with peanut butter dust, mint-infused pear and candied hazelnut might, seals the deal.
Casual and cozy
on the banks of the
Sunday Brunch: the blue cornmeal cakes; Dinner: A Tasting
27190 Hwy 6 | Wolcott
970.926.1390 | wolcottyachtclub.com