Had dinner at the Summit, the least stodgy of the Broadmoor Hotel's dining choices. I've been coming since the restaurant opened and have always found it good without being truly excellent - and this time was no different. The room is nice, the service is friendly and well-meaning if often completely clueless, and the meals are consistently decent though uninspired. It's probably the best choice for "fine" dining in Colorado Springs. Still, it pisses me off that with a bit more effort, this place could be truly excellent.
There was one waiter a year or two back in whose section I would be sat every time I visited, who had the deeply annoying habit of narrating his service to you. As this is a hotel restaurant, the staff is also trained to use your name whenever they address you - so I would get things like "I'm going to refill your water glass now, Mr. Manley" or "Here's your basket of delicious housebaked breads, Mr. Manley" or I'm going to crumb your table now, Mr. Manley." By the end of the meal, I'd be ready to throttle someone.
The menu is divided into "Seasonal" and "Favorites" but I've never seen the seasonal side change more than twice a year. For a restaurant that advertises ambition and luxe through its atmosphere and wine program, the menu is a remarkably static document - it transmits a fear of change and/or risk. It tells me that the management does not have a lot of confidence in the chef, and the chef must not have a lot of confidence in his staff. When the menu does change, it seems incremental - there are no "wipe the slate clean" moments here. I suspect with a good part of its business coming from travelers, there is little demand from locals for change. And why mess with a good thing? Or one that's at least acceptable? I feel that the management should call a spade a spade and get the menu laminated.
The wine program, however, is very nice, and the list is full of hidden gems and interesting selections. Kudos to Bucky and Monique for doing such an excellent job with this.
With the meal - I had the same dishes I almost always have every time I visit, because I've had everything on the menu at least once and have by now narrowed my choices down to two or three things that are acceptable - we had the surprising 2002 Côtes de Roussillon Villages "Clos des Fées" from Herve Bizeul. A blend of Carignane, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, this is both an intense and balanced wine from the difficult 2002 vintage. This is a modern wine, with lush fruit and a good dose of new oak, but I suspect that the difficulty of the vintage informed a judicious use of new barrels and the result is surprisingly balanced and, in a word, delightful. This was a selection that Bucky originally pointed out to me and I've had the wine several times since then. Layers of tarry black fruits are combined with minerality and decent acidity that make for a lovely mouthfeel and give the finish an especially balanced and satisfying feel. This is not one for ageing - I'd consume it over the next 2-4 years. (3.0+ nb)