Sometimes the planets just align. You’re lucky enough to be spending a romantic night at the urban-chic Sky Lodge in Park City. You walk out the door and take maybe 50 steps across the street to Jean-Louis Restaurant & Bar. Right off, a gregarious diner seated in the bar offers you and your mate a few generous pours from his bottle of Shafer “One Point Five” Cabernet—silken, chocolaty and $160 a bottle on the wine list. Much appreciated.
I’ve been to Chef Jean-Louis Montecot’s eponymous restaurant at the foot of Main Street a few times. And, each time, we’ve run into locals who feel at home there, or visitors who seem imbued with a spirit of largesse— inspired to share their wine, their stories, bites of ahi tuna, whatever. But it had been quite a while before this return visit, so it was fun to rediscover and indulge.
While Jean- Louis’ summer menu offers a well-balanced selection that includes light soups and salads, or an Asian-style grilled halibut, we decided to go old-school with the appetizers: lobster macaroni & cheese and traditional escargots. The former was rich as you might imagine, studded with chunks of tender lobster meat. The escargots, swimming in lemony clarified butter, were perfection. I can also recommend the velvety tender veal picatta, in a light sherry/lemon sauce teeming with oodles of capers.
True, the exuberant Jean-Louis (the man and the place) is trapped inside a mini mall. But once you’re in the restaurant, the glow from the amber onyx bar, the gleam of crystal and silver, high-backed banquettes and soft lighting all conspire to make that fact irrelevant.
If you can’t get a table, eat at the bar. Who knows? You may meet a generous stranger.