The Flagstaff House floats above Boulder as a reminder of the days of formal, elegant evenings when diners dressed up for special occasions marked by lavish servings of caviar, foie gras and bottles of wine. You can still experience this style of grandeur, but the Flagstaff House isn't stuck in the past. Modern cuisine, artful platings and contemporary beverage choices mean a wonderful outing is just a quick Uber ride from Boulder and only about forty minutes from Denver (making a great excuse to finally sign up for an HOV pass). For the first time since chef Mark Monette took over the kitchen at his family's restaurant in 1985, there's a new executive chef. Chris Royster has been promoted after six years as sous-chef, while Adam Monette, grandson of founder Don Monette, takes over as general manager/partner.
Like Adam Monette, Royster has been made a partner in the business, so he's got a stake in the game. As a winner of the Food Network's Chopped , the chef brings his own style to the table, with bold bursts of color and flavor to complement carefully sourced ingredients.
One of the new offerings is a three-course, prix fixe dinner menu that allows you to choose from five first-course, five second-course and six entree options. The trio rings in at $88 per person, so you can make a night of it, or you can order à la carte if you just want to relax at the bar and head back into town after drinks and small plates.
One of the highlights of the first course is a hamachi crudo plate that balances tart wedges of charred Meyer lemon against shards of a savory-sweet soy sesame brittle. The combination, accented with microgreens and radish slices, brings out the best in the raw fish.
If you're leaning toward something more Old World, a stunning slab of seared foie gras is in order for the second course. The liver rests on a rosemary-pear tart and is sided with quince coulis — an upscale answer to applesauce. But the smoked mackerel, served as three lozenges in a pool of kelly-green sauvignon blanc reduction, feels just as decadent.
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If you spring for all three courses, the duck breast with strawberries is an excellent finisher, served with a red wine reduction and a pink peppercorn gremolata. Pinks and greens dominate the stunningly plated duck, celebrating the season in a bold splatter of colors.
You don't need to wait for Mother's Day or a wedding anniversary to make the winding trip up Flagstaff Mountain; great views, a spacious patio and new cocktails are great draws to go with Royster's new spring menu.
The Flagstaff House is located at 1138 Flagstaff Road and open for dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday. Call 303-442-4640 or visit the restaurant's website for reservations and information.