When I imagine Mongolians eating dinner, it’s an image of Genghis Khan tearing into a roasted sheep’s leg. So that’s what I thought as I hiked through the evening woods to The Yurt at Solitude. While the yurt is Mongolian-style, it turns out the experience inside is as sophisticated as dining at a ski resort can be.
As a backcountry skier, I’ve had dinner in many yurts over the years. The fare usually consists of sloppy joes or quesadillas paired with cheap beer. So I’ve never eaten in the mountains as well as I did at The Yurt at Solitude during a recent media event.
The Yurt at Solitude
We gathered in the Village at Solitude and walked over the snow below the Sunrise chairlift. Snowshoes were not needed thanks to a lack of early-season snow (though Solitude does provide them.) The walk is only a few hundred yards to the yurt, which is nestled among evergreen trees. I felt warm despite the nighttime chill after seeing the yurt aglow against a backdrop of starry skies and shadowed pines.
Inside the yurt are two large tables that surround a wood-burning stove and full kitchen. Our chef, Craig Gerome, was hastily preparing our 5-course meals within the limited space. Lanterns hanging from the ceiling provided intimate lighting. Fantastic scents emanated from the kitchen. It all seemed otherworldy that a fancy restaurant could exist inside canvas walls at 8,000 feet, and yet there we were.
After everyone was seated and wine was poured, conversation ebbed and flowed across the tables. Strangers connected and old friends re-connected. But chatter suddenly stopped when the first course was served.
The Five-Course Dinner
First up was was a white soup, more accurately a celery root veloute with crispy sage and Marcona almonds. This was creamy and delicious. A palate cleanser to prepare for what came next.
Second round was the “salad” though this was much more hearty than your typical Caesar. Instead we got a plate of roasted beets, burratta cheese, pistachio, winter greens, and banyuls vinaigrette.
The third course we entered into the realm of main dishes and this one by far was my favorite. Placed before me was poached & seared halibut with blood orange, broccolini, and citrus bernaise. I’ve fished in Alaska and brought home a hundred pounds of halibut fillets over the years. I’ve cooked it grilled, baked and smoked. But chef Gerome absolutely spoiled my tastebuds with the way he prepared halibut. Apparently he seared it, then cooked it in a bath of oil and butter. Let that sink in. So good.
The halibut was a tough act to follow, but the fourth course held its own. Herb roasted wagyu beef with potato purée, foraged mushrooms, glazed romanesco, and bordelaise sauce rounded out the main course.
For dessert I dug into a mountain berry gallete and washed it down with a cup of coffee. To say the meal was satisfying would be an understatement. I truly never ate so well at a ski resort, a yurt, or anywhere, really.
If You Go
Is your mouth watering yet? If so I really recommend you experience the Yurt at Solitude. Sure, it’s pricey. But for a special occasion like an engagement, anniversary, birthday, or holiday party, the food and ambiance inside the yurt is a memory you won’t soon forget.
The Yurt at Solitude is open Thursday – Sunday from 5:30 – 9 p.m during ski season. The cost is $135 per person. Dinner, corkage fee, guide, tax and gratuity are all included in the price. Reservations are required. Book your dinner soon because the calendar fills up fast.
To make reservations, or for more information, visit solitudemountain.com/village-dining/the-yurt