It’s been a couple of years since a restaurant occupied the historic Coal & Lumber building, located on the corner of Main Street and Heber Avenue. But Courchevel Bistro, which opened in the renovated space in early July, proves to be well worth the long wait.
The Dishing team recently sat down for dinner with the executive chef of Courchevel Bistro, Clement Gelas, who’s been with the Talisker Club for years. While we enjoyed his creations, Gelas filled us in on his vision for the restaurant’s French-inspired food and ambience.
The restaurant was opened by the Talisker Club, a private community in Park City with four locations. But worry not; the eatery is still open to the public (with the exception of the members-only downstairs lounge and patio). In fact, the staff makes a point to welcome everyone as if they were a member, making you feel right at home.
Upstairs, the building offers a bistro-inspired dining area, a café/bakery with pastries and desserts that turns into a wine bar at night, as well as a chef’s counter that overlooks the kitchen — all of which are open to walk-ins and reservations.
Courchevel Bistro boasts a spacious outdoor deck that overlooks Main Street and the mountains beyond, which seems like the prime place to sit. Luckily, the interior decor is equally as pleasing. The walls of the bistro are adorned with black-and-white photographs of Park City’s past, giving a nod to the history of the building. Plus, all the details, from the Wedgwood China to the luxurious linens and classic bistro chairs, have clearly been chosen with care.
Although he’s lived in Park City for nearly 15 years, Gelas grew up in Courchevel, known as Park City’s “sister city” in the French Alps. Fittingly, the menu is heavily influenced by the chef’s home country of France and the Rhône Valley. But the food is also modern, and incorporates seasonal flavors and local ingredients from Park City-based purveyors.
Chef Gelas’ dishes disprove the common conception that French food automatically equals “heavy.” His menu features lighter, healthier takes on typical French dishes. Not a single entree uses heavy cream (although, to be fair, it’s used widely in the delectable desserts). Most of the dishes are gluten-free, and many can be made vegetarian or vegan upon request.
Each meal at Courchevel will begin with a freshly baked bread basket featuring their own take on Red Bicycle Bread’s famous “crack bread,” served warm with whipped butter. Although it’s tempting to fill up on the bread alone, we highly recommend trying some of the starters. The onion tart, which features a gluten-free crust and local goat cheese, is slightly savory but also sweet, and makes a great start to any meal.
We also enjoyed the bratwurst in brioche, an elevated twist on the classic “pigs in a blanket” with house-made sausage, brioche bread and apple cider mustard. The lentils and haricot vert salad with local blue cheese, apple cider dressing and roasted tomatoes, ensures your meal will begin on a healthy note.
While the menu will change frequently according to what’s in season, the mains currently include a lighter take on shepherd’s pie, called beef parmentier. In this dish, the beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender, and came served upon a bed of tender Brussels sprouts.
We also tried the arctic char meuniere, a delightful, summery surprise with a perfectly cooked piece of fish sitting atop a lemon-basil sorrel sauce with asparagus and chanterelle mushrooms. Other entrees include slow-roasted rack of pork, chicken coq au vin, lamb roulade and a market pasta of the day with local vegetables and foraged mushrooms.
Finally, for the pièce de résistance (a.k.a dessert), we tucked into the fromage blanc cheese and thyme-infused berries, a few homemade macarons, as well as apple beignets with honey ice cream. Each was tasty and unique in its own way, from the not-too-sweet, but flavorful fromage blanc to the addictive apple beignets.
Courchevel also offers a robust wine list that the sommelier, Bill White, can walk you through.
Dropping by during the day? Courchevel serves a hearty breakfast spread, with homemade pastries daily and a full coffee bar. They will soon serve a full menu for lunch, and for now they have a limited lunch menu with pre-made sandwiches.
201 Heber Avenue, Park City, Utah 84060
Café and bakery: Open daily 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Dinner: Monday-Saturday, 6-10 p.m.
Sunday Brunch: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.