Should you find yourself in Park City for July’s Park City Food & Wine Classic—or for any other reason—one of the best spots to pamper yourself is at the Waldorf Astoria, located just beyond the base of Canyons Resort. Stay in one of the Waldorf’s opulent residences—tricked out with full kitchens and high-end Viking appliances—and you might choose not to leave your room, except maybe to visit the four-star spa. However, if you decide to let someone else do the cooking, breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Waldorf Astoria will make you rethink your notions of “hotel food.”
Sprawl out on the comfy cushions for breakfast at Powder, the Waldorf’s lounge and casual dining/bar area located adjacent to Slopes restaurant. If you’re eating responsibly, you’ll opt for the delectable buckwheat pancakes, served with blueberry compote. If not, your eyes might wander toward something more decadent: the Waldorf Benedict. It’s a first-class version of eggs Benedict, with pillow-like soft-poached eggs atop smoked pork loin, served with housemade lemon-chive hollandaise. The mini Belgian waffles are also good, topped with Slide Ridge honey mascarpone. Or, you might opt to create your own omelet—customizing it with stuffing choices like mushrooms, spinach, ham, bacon, Gruyère, turkey sausage, onions, tomatoes, cheddar and chèvre—served with roasted fingerling potatoes and toast.
The outdoor seating at Powder restaurant is perfect for sunny lunch, al fresco. I recommend the spring-pea soup to kick off lunch, with pea shoots and hints of truffle. The Powder cheese board and housemade charcuterie selections are equally good starters. And, it would seem a no-brainer to order the Waldorf salad at the Waldorf, with Granny Smith apples and Delano Peak Baby Blue cheese from Snowy Mountain Sheep Creamery. However, there’s another knockout salad on the menu: the steelhead Niçoise. Technically, I suppose this isn’t a Niçoise salad, since it features a tender, boneless steelhead trout fillet, as opposed to traditional tuna. But it was delicious nonetheless, the fish fillet on a bed of fresh greens, adorned with fingerling potatoes, crunchy haricot vert, hard-cooked egg, heirloom cherry tomatoes, hints of anchovy and Niçoise olives, all lightly kissed with a subtle house vinaigrette. The steelhead pairs beautifully with a glass of Meiomi Pinot Noir from California.
A slam-dunk sandwich for lunch at Powder is the turkey club. A rustic sunflower-seed bun from Pierre’s Bakery is stuffed with crunchy bacon strips, thick slices of hand-carved roasted turkey, Bibb lettuce, ripe tomato and avocado, served with a light and tasty lemon aioli that works well with Napa Valley Girard Sauvignon Blanc. There were excellent hand-cut fries with sea salt alongside, too. For heartier lunchtime appetites, you can’t go wrong with the flat-iron steak frites or the lemon-roasted chicken with mushroom risotto and spring veggies, either.
Slopes is the Waldorf Astoria’s fine-dining dinner restaurant, and it has undergone transitions of late. The restaurant has been downsized to make room for a new high-tech conference room, giving it an intimate appeal that it previously lacked. Thankfully, the chef hasn’t changed. In my opinion, one of the most talented chefs working in the West is Slopes Executive Chef Clement Gelas. He hails originally from Boege, France, and brings his experience working in Michelin-starred French restaurants to Park City. His cooking is modern and creative, but with a firm foundation of classical French techniques and training, as evidenced in colorful dishes like his pickled baby beets with watercress, chèvre and dill-pistachio pesto. I’m not even a big beet fan, but this dish was spectacular.
Another irresistible offering from Gelas is steelhead trout tartare. It’s bite-size chunks of steelhead, served ceviche-style with goji berries, cleverly presented in a glass pickling jar, with herbed olive-oil crostini and slices of highly addictive Pierre’s Bakery baguette with melted Parmesan. I don’t think I’d ever tasted goji berries before; they lent an interesting simultaneously sweet and sour note to the trout tartare.
Throughout dinner at Slopes, service was superb, provided by our main waiter, a young fellow who learned his craft working at his father’s restaurant in Moab. So often in resort-town restaurants, the seasonal nature of employment results in service that’s hit and miss, but there was nothing “miss” about the superb service at Slopes.
The wine list, too, is exceptional, and ranges from economically priced offerings such as Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc to wallet-busting first-growth Bordeaux from France, the latter of which would be a good partner for Slopes’ juniper-dusted elk carpaccio. Thin, nearly see-through rounds of raw elk are topped with fresh arugula, Parmesan, Slide Ridge honey vinaigrette and a poached quail egg. Yep, it’s as delicious as it sounds.
As the Slopes menu transitions into lighter fare for the summer, I’m hoping that Gelas will leave one wintery dish on it: I loved the roasted duck-breast medallions, presented atop a winter-vegetable puree. Ditto the mushroom ravioli with sage brown butter and shaved winter truffles.
Desserts, too, at Slopes are pretty bodacious. I mean, how could you not love Nutella fondue, with marshmallows, strawberries, bananas and “broken” croissants? There’s also a heavenly warm butterscotch pudding served with pieces of pound cake, salted caramel sauce, housemade whipped cream and toasted pistachio. But wait, there’s more! Chai creme brulee comes served in the pan it was baked in, with housemade ginger snaps alongside. It’s terrific while sipping a warm chai toddy from the bar: Captain Morgan spiced rum, chai spices and a drizzle of honey.
At Park City’s Waldorf Astoria, they’ve got breakfast, lunch and dinner deliciously covered.
2100 Frostwood Drive, Park City