Thanksgiving Traditions: The Ski Pope, Sushi and other Holiday Anomalies. Part 2.
on December 3, 2012
To continue what had already been a great weekend, we ventured off to experience the new Aerie at Snowbird. Having had my fill of heavy gravies and custards, I was envisioning a meal that would be the exact opposite. Sushi for Thanksgiving? Why not?
The Aerie went through a major redesign last year and, aptly named, it’s like a chic, golden nest atop a mountain perch. The space is a palette of neutrals and clean lines, sexy and modern but welcoming for either a lengthy dinner or a cozy respite between runs. It’s also much more than sushi. Chef Ken Ohlinger’s modern gastropub menu is sophisticated but accessible, featuring seasonal ingredients and many local foods. I found it lovely to have the option to mix your plate with the freshness of a tuna roll and comfort food like elk meatballs.
We kicked off Thanksgiving Dinner #2 with cocktails, the Aerie Red Tram and the B&B. The B&B was my favorite, a cool concoction of bourbon, maple and blueberry. We followed this with the Twin Peaks roll, a special of crisp tempura shrimp, spicy tuna, radish sprouts, sweet eel sauce and sesame. I never pass up scallops and The Aerie’s were plump with a nice sear, prepared with sugar snap peas and white balsamic vinaigrette, atop a tarragon carrot coulis. I loved the crisp quinoa-mushroom fritters. Dipped in the truffle herbed aioli they made a perfect bite. A smoky maple-cured salmon fillet rounded out dinner, although I could have easily gone for sweet tea brined pork loin or the beef tenderloin with mushroom butter and ramp potato custard. Trying to keep it "light!"
Ohlinger has created a playful menu and the desserts and cocktails play along. With a serving of S’Mores cheesecake with toasted meringue, fudge and toasted graham crackers, we paired a Banana Split cocktail: banana liqueur, godiva chocolate liqueur, vanilla vodka, hot chocolate, whipped cream and fresh strawberry on top. I had trouble sharing.
The Aerie is appealing on so many levels. The wine list alone is a reason to visit, and not just because it boasts 950 offerings. The Alsatian focus is especially unique, offering many wines from that region you won’t find on any other lists in Utah. The list offers great wines for reasonable prices as well as collector bottles that are ready to drink.
Sadly, we missed the launch of the winter menu by one week, so I’ll be visiting The Aerie again soon to try pan-seared duck breast and lamb pot pie. See you at the top!