The iconic 14,110-foot (4,301 m) Pikes Peak and the 90-year-old Pikes Peak International Hill Climb — a car-and-motorcycle race up the famous mountain each July — were the inspirations for The Broadmoor resort’s new Summit restaurant.
So says the restaurant’s renowned designer, Adam Tihany. He likens being in the 98-seat dining room to sitting in a car with everything going by very quickly. The carpet design hints at the movement of car gears; the ceiling suggests a racetrack; and the glass-enclosed 14-foot (4.3 m) wine turret with moving racks could be likened to the gears of a racecar.
“However, none of these details are evident. They are only suggestions, hints and metaphors,” says Tihany, whose design flair has been a major force in transforming Las Vegas into an international gourmet capital. (He was the designer of Aureole, with its wine tower at the Mandalay Bay, Cravings buffet at The Mirage, and Le Cirque and Osteria del Circo at Bellagio.)
OK, Mr. Tihany, whatever you say.
One thing, though, is evident: The brash, sassy, $5 million Summit, which opened in January, 2006, kicks up the dining tempo a notch at the 88-year-old esteemed Italian Renaissance–style resort hotel. The world-class, 3,000-acre (12.1 km²), 700-room Colorado Springs landmark is the country’s longest-running consecutive winner of the Mobil five-star rating and the AAA five-diamond award (since the 1958 inception for Mobil and since 1976 for AAA).
The Summit’s moderately priced menu is American brasserie–style, with subtle French touches. Appetizers run from $6 to $17 and main courses from $17 to $26. Half the menu stays the same and the other half changes with the seasons. Suggested attire is “smart casual to business.”
Year-round appetizers include six Pacific oysters on the half shell ($9) and six warm crispy oysters with a honey, ginger and soy dipping sauce ($9), while seasonal appetizers feature apple chestnut soup with sautéed chestnuts ($6) and seared Sonoma foie gras tartine with apple butter and country bread ($17).
Entrees for all seasons include pan-seared Maine diver scallops with wild mushroom risotto and a Parmigiano-reggiano crisp ($24), and monkfish served osso bucco style ($22). Seasonal main courses feature sweet potato raviolis with chestnuts, cipollini onions and sage cream ($17), black pepper– crusted ahi tuna ($26) and cassoulet with duck confit, lamb, sausage, pork and white beans ($21).
“The Summit is a unique dining experience to not only The Broadmoor, but to the hotel industry,” says Stephen Bartolin Jr., the resort’s president and CEO. “It is trend setting for a grand, historic resort to have a restaurant like this. We have to be very respectful of the history of The Broadmoor. Putting Summit across the street from the main complex as a free-standing restaurant allowed us to do something different. It is a big wow factor for the guests. They don’t feel like they’re in a hotel restaurant.”
Tihany also is designing a restaurant for Aspen’s historic 117-year-old Hotel Jerome, which Broadmoor owner Oklahoma Publishing Company purchased last April. The 92-room hotel will close in April 2007 for a $25 million renovation and reopen that November. Tihany won’t reveal specifics for the restaurant, saying only that he has a challenge because “all of the Aspen customers have seen everything ― and they probably own it.”
The decision to build a Broadmoor restaurant ― not a hotel dining room ― stems from a survey that showed nearly 65 percent of non-group hotel guests decide what destination to visit based on dining, says C. W. Craig Reed, The Broadmoor’s food and beverage director.
“The Summit gives a new flavor to The Broadmoor,” Reed says. And he isn’t worried that it will pull diners away from the resort’s five other major restaurants, although that might happen on occasion. “Guests will feel comfortable going to them all, based on the mood they’re in.”
A subtle sign with the Summit name and abstract logo — a road winding around a triangular mountain — marks the restaurant’s stone-flanked entrance next to the 60,000-square-foot (5,574 m²) Broadmoor Hall, which opened in October 2005 as part of the expanded Broadmoor Events Center Complex. Down the street are 19 four-story, 4,600-square-foot (427 km²) brownstones The Broadmoor built and sold for an average of $1.4 million each.
“We’re creating our own ‘hood,’” Reed jokes.
The Summit shifted gears after its January, 2006 opening when The Broadmoor and much-hyped Summit chef Rolland “Rollie” Wesen parted company. Wesen, son-in-law of celebrated chef Jacques Pépin, had come to The Broadmoor from Rivers restaurant in Portland.
“Heck no, you don’t want that to happen with an opening,” Bartolin says of the flap over Wesen. “But you go forward.”
Stepping in as Summit’s executive chef is French-born Bertrand Bouquin, formerly of downtown Cincinnati’s legendary Mobil five-star Maisonette, which closed last year after a 56-year run.
Bouquin was hired in October 2005 to oversee redesign of the Penrose Room, The Broadmoor’s most traditional restaurant, atop South Tower, which was built in 1961. The Penrose Room was gutted in a $30.6 million renovation and reopened in May.
New features include a demonstration kitchen with TV monitors and a private dining room cantilevered out over Cheyenne Lake, which The Broadmoor is situated alongside. Bouquin serves as executive chef at the Penrose Room, in addition to the Summit.
Also new is an Italian-themed shopping village between the original main building and South Tower, with six specialty boutiques, including women’s high-end fashions at Balliet’s, men’s fashions, a clock shop, cosmetic shop, florist and bookstore.
That’s not all. The Jack Nicklaus–redesigned Mountain Golf Course, made to look like it has been part of the resort since 1918, opened in July 2006.
“This is a race without a finish line,” Bartolin says of the renovations. “We are creating new venues for our guests.”
Meanwhile, the Summit is proving popular with not only hotel guests, but also with Colorado Springs locals. Its featured cocktails ($9.75) are a big hit. They include the Summit Express (Absolut vodka and Starbucks liqueur), Angel’s Temptation (Gran Centenario Plata tequila and fresh-pressed apple juice) and Summit Smokin’ Marg (Gran Centenario Plata tequila, Grand Marnier, fresh lime and a float of Del Maguey Chichicapa Single Village Mezcal).
Perhaps after a couple of these drinks, diners will understand the motion Tihany is trying to convey. The room may indeed move.
If You Go
Summit, at The Broadmoor
Reservations are requested, but not required. Valet parking is available. Dinner is from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays; closed Monday. The Summit bar serves a lounge menu from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.