Thanksgiving At Siam Talay: Not Your Mother's Traditional Feast

Talay interiorEvery November, folks check out the Really Big Issues: brining versus barding, tenting versus turning, organic or heritage. Clint and I decided to check out. Period. Plans for the holiday included a leisurely cross-country ski outing up at Trout Lake, followed by a day of outsourcing our brains to the Cloud. Our Thanksgiving feast? A Google search answered the plaint “leftover turkey” with more than 300,000 promises of recipes to dispatch it: creamed, curried, a la king, potpie, casserole. Bah, Humbug. There was broccoli pesto in the freezer.

Then Jeff Badger called. Why not celebrate Thanksgiving with him at his new restaurant in Mountain Village, Siam Talay Grille at the Inn at Lost Creek? Jeff is a close friend and the owner of Siam Telluride, now an eight-year-old success story, which Ski magazine described breathlessly in its October “Top 50 Ski Resorts” issue:

“Siam Telluride offers more than just Telluride’s best Thai food; it offers some of the best Thai food you’ll find anywhere. Expect Siam’s Talay Grille, a… sister restaurant opening in Mountain Village to be just as delish.”

We second that emotion. And we recently returned from two weeks in Thailand, where we traveled much of the time on our bellies.

On offer: Comfort Curry Turkey. (Think 1/2 bottle of Southern Comfort.)

“There’s a little bit of redneck in everyone,” Jeff quipped.

Game on.

Talay Grille is housed in the Inn at Lost Creek in Mountain Village occupies (more or less) the same space that housed the restaurant formerly known as “9545.” But the room has experienced a total facelift. Gone is the bright minimalism of the old eatery. In its place, an elegant room with a Zen vibe. In fact, Jeff planned every detail to encourage an full-throated exhale: sueded walls accented with river rocks and stone (Leo McNamara did that work), rich wooden floors (like the floors of a Thai temple), Asian antiques from T. (for Teesha) Karn Imports, and soft lighting to set a mood of sensual ease.

The food? Well, as every fan of Siam – especially fans of its imaginative hand rolls – knows, Jeff Badger is a mad scientist. His turkey could not just be a turkey. It had to be drunk. On Thanksgiving, the maestro conjured the rest of the menu too and per usual, the brilliant young chef at Talay, Adam Pace, executed Jeff’s ideas with panache, adding his own spin.

The stuffing involved shredding dark meat and topping it off with a Massaman curry gravy. The amuse bouche involved a trilogy of taste treats few would think of putting together: a crisp cucumber, fresh seared tuna, spicy choo chee sauce. The soup was made from a Kaboucha squash and curried. Parsnips got smashed to resemble mashed potatoes. Carrots were glazed in ginger honey and grilled alongside zucchini. Dessert? Well, it was apple pie and pumpkin pie – done in hand rolls fashioned from edible soy paper.

How to choose between Siam Telluride (downtown) and Siam’s Talay Grille (uptown)? Jeff answers cryptically with a Thai expression:

“Same same, but different.”

And then he expands upon his trope:

“Downtown the emphasis is on traditional food such as drunken noodles, green curried pad thai, stir fries and the like, although the menu does have contemporary accents. Uptown at Talay the accent is on contemporary, composed dishes such as Thai shepherd’s pie and Vindaloo chicken, although there are some traditional dishes. We also feature fresh fish with different Thai sauces on the side. I would describe Talay as Pan Asian.”

We would add “mellow,” “exotic” and “sophisticated.” While the vibe downtown is edgy and scene-y.

It was a Thanksgiving dinner to remember. And, departing from tradition, no one left the table in a huff.

Only a fool would leave a table set by Jeff Badger.

Donovan Daily on Guitar

Donovan Daily on Guitar

Siam’s Talay is open for breakfast from 7:30 – 10 a.m. daily. Lunch is 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Dinner 5 – 9 p.m., accompanied by (mellow) live music. The adjacent bar opens at 11:30 a.m. until close. Live music featuring Mike Pale begins apres-ski in the lounge and the bar.

Call 970-728-6293 for reservations.

Call 970-728-6886 for reservations at Siam Telluride, also recently refurbished.

 

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