Amidst the flurry of activity at the base of Steamboat Ski Resort is a true culinary gem.
Summer in Steamboat is a bit slower paced and quiet. The construction was everywhere at base camp. Our group had been by this unassuming restaurant at least four times during our stay on the mountain and never noticed the small entrance. Café Diva was our final meal in Steamboat and it did not disappoint. Reviews were great but our experience was better.
Chef Kate Van Rensselaer noted the ability to accommodate gluten-free and vegetarian diets on their website and Facebook page and also had an updated summer menu that listed the gluten-free options. Updating allergen menus is usually something most restaurants let fall by the wayside. There was only one review on Find-Me-Gluten-Free but I was so astounded by the many positive reviews of the chef’s culinary ability that after a quick call to discuss I was excited to give it a try.
The husband and I chose a nice Malbec from the extensive wine list and perused the appetizer and salads. They did ask if we would like bread at the table, which is something I always appreciate from the server. Instead of the bread service, I received rice crackers and warm house-made olives. I don’t care for olives but did try one just to see. Still don’t care for them! It is pretty standard for us to split a salad at a nice meal but I was intrigued by the appetizer offerings. They all sounded good and I couldn’t decide . . . so the hubs chose the Peppadew Popper Kebabs.
Wrapped in prosciutto, and stuffed with smoked chevre, almond and basil and served with an arugula pesto and herb salad, this appetizer was small but mighty. Delicious flavor combinations when these components were melded.
The venison short loin received rave reviews from my husband and friend. Definitely order this medium rare to rare was the suggestion of our server, Gaye, who kept us chuckling throughout the meal with her unique personality.
I chose the scallop dish and it was divine. The scallops were seared to perfection and delicious but the accompanying flavors was what really stood out. Fresh corn, heirloom tomato and purple fingerling potato sautéed with a lemon-tarragon butter vinaigrette. The real star power in this dish was a later discovery of popcorn shoots. These thin green sprouts had an amazing true sweet corn flavor, mixed with slivers of green onions; it was the perfect garnish on this dish.
Dessert had another wide range of gluten-free options. My interest was piqued with the Colorado Peach Parfait (on the GF menu with GF graham crackers!). The chef seemed concerned about the graham cracker cross contact issue and so we omitted them. I was a bit sad; as that was the primary reason I wanted to try the dish. We probably should have just cancelled that but we got it anyway as well as the crème brulee, after the server told us she couldn’t even find a crème brulee in Paris that topped Chef Kate’s crème brulee.
Both desserts were divine and a perfect nightcap to our delicious meal. Bravo to Café Diva for making a gluten-free menu that was so extensive AND for working with me and making me a safe meal. I so so appreciate it and can’t wait to come back some day!