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La Tour

La Tour

One of the valley's best-kept culinary secrets
By Linda Hayes
posted: 01/29/2003

Four years ago, Paul Ferzacca and his wife, Lourdes (he cooks, she's "the boss"), took over La Tour. Inspired by restaurants they had visited in Provence, they painted the walls burgundy, blue and sunflower yellow, turned a brick patio with a river-rock fireplace into an enclosed bistro, printed menus and fired up the stoves. Today, the lovely little restaurant is one of the valley's best-kept culinary secrets.

While Ferzacca's food is not "100 percent French"-it's lighter and more contemporary than the traditional style- it is influenced by time spent working under French master chefs at The Ritz Carlton and Hotel Continental in Chicago. "Anywhere you go in the country, the food you find is influenced by French techniques," he says. "The difference is the use of regional American products." Ferzacca was most recently executive chef at the Game Creek Club on Vail Mountain.

While Ferzacca's emphasis is on flavor, his dishes are beautifully, yet simply presented. Salad Lyonnaise with duck confit is topped with a delicate "sunny side up" quail egg. Veal sweetbreads come surrounded by wild mushrooms and cipollini onions. Dover sole is accompanied by haricot vert and a lemon-brown butter sauce. Crème brà»lée flambé arrives with a flourish at the table.

Equally impressive is La Tour's French and American wine list, which has earned a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. It's created by four staff sommeliers, Ferzacca included, who, along with his chefs and waitstaff, pass their passion for food and wine on to guests. "Once people find us, they come back again and again," Ferzacca says. "That's where my gratification comes from."

latour-vail.com

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