There are so many things to love about the Saddle Peak Lodge with its stone fireplaces, timber frame structure and hunting lodge feel complete with Michelin Star food and service. It’s always had a stellar reputation for serving wild game as well as seasonal menus and chef’s tasting menus. The latest addition is their refreshing Small Plates Menu, the perfect pairing with drinks.  Chef Chris Kufek developed a variety of dishes to be enjoyed with friends on the patio or at the bar. These dishes can be appetizers while waiting for your table or a light meal.  I recently had the pleasure of photographing the menu and of course I had the privilege of tasting each item. Yes, it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.  Below are some of my thoughts about each plate.

Saddle Peak Lodge Lobster Spring RollsLobster Spring Rolls – Mint, cilantro, avocado, cucumber, carrot and ginger with a chili peanut sauce. This takes the concept of spring rolls to a whole new level. The delicate flavors of the lobster are complimented beautifully by the other refreshing ingredients. The chili peanut sauce is light with a nice balance of sweet and spicy, giving a new twist to this staple of thai sauces.

Saddle Peak Lodge Tiger Shrimp SaladTiger Shrimp Salad – Pumpkin seeds, pomegranate, avocado, golden corn and tangerine with a basil vinaigrette.  A very refreshing salad with plump shrimp and a myriad of flavors and textures that compliment the delicate sweet nature of the shrimp.

Saddle Peak Lodge Quinoa SaladQuinoa Salad – Mint, dried cranberries, raisins, roasted carrots, turnips and seasonal mixed greens with a tangerine vinaigrette. Chef Kufek gives us a contrast of flavor and texture that creates a hearty dish. The combination of roasted and raw root vegetables combined with the sweetness of dried fruit culminates in an earthy salad. I couldn’t put this one down.

Saddle Peak Lodge Waygu beef kebobsWaygu Beef Kebob – Potato crepe, mint-pistachio pesto with date chutney. Chef Kufek brings together classic middle eastern flavors that compliment the kebobs. Take a bit of the crepe with some kebob, add the chutney and pesto and you’ve got a flavor combination that is elegant on the palate.

Saddle Peak Lodge Fave Bean ToastFava Bean Toast – shaved Périgeuex truffle,  burrata, pickled onions, and candied lemons.  The smoothness of the lava bean puree is the perfect canvas for the rest of the ingredients. The sweet and sour of the onion and lemon cut through the butteriness of the cheese and beans. The truffles are not merely garnished, but they round out the experience, adding an earthy quality to the dish. This is one that I could eat every day and never get tired of.

Saddle Peak Lodge Red Snapper cevicheRed Snapper Ceviche – A whole new take on ceviche with plantain chips and a bell pepper remoulade that balances the citrus flavors.  The roasted pearl onions and tomatoes add a nice contrast. Plaintain chips are wonderfully crisp and a great compliment.

The small plates menu also includes a selection of Seasonal Oysters On The Half Shell and Build Your Own Cheese Plate. This menu is also available for their Happy Hour at 50% off.