Modern mountainside dining in Park City
In the morning, skiers donning bright jackets with matching pants and ski boots swarm star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s J&G Grill and excitedly chatter about hitting the slopes over Gruyère omelets. But at night, the space seamlessly transforms into a warm, sedate dining destination where those same skiers return — this time in casual-chic attire — for plates of tender braised short rib with jalapeño-apple puree and rosemary crumbs.
Tucked inside The St. Regis Deer Valley, the Park City restaurant replicates the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel’s same luxurious mountain-lodge aesthetic. Gray quartz stone walls lend a rustic feel, and rings of big globe lights hanging from above add a simple but sophisticated touch. A vaulted walnut ceruse beam ceiling looms over a long communal dining table, though you can choose to sit in cream leather chairs with brown velour at smaller wood tables. Foodies may want to opt for one of the bar seats lining the exhibition kitchen to watch the chefs in action (plus, if you sit here, you’ll likely get extra treats). A large two-sided wood-burning stone fireplace makes you want to cozy up with one of the restaurant’s indulgent boozy hot chocolates. And of course, you can see the inspiration for the décor outside of the oversized widows; they look out over the snow-covered mountains and aspen trees.
The contemporary American menu is a greatest-hits compilation of the prolific Vongerichten. One of the most popular dishes is the tuna tartare with avocado, spicy radish and soy-ginger dressing. The starter is made with ahi that’s caught and flown in the same day from Honolulu Fish Company. In peak seasons, J&G goes through about 350 pounds of the tuna per week. We also love the mussels marinière appetizer. Hailing from a selective boutique supplier in Maine, the mussels come heaped in a pile in a cast-iron pot. They are topped with a lemon wedge and thick triangles of grilled toast that’s perfect for sopping up every last drop of the fragrant white wine, garlic and Thai basil sauce.
Among the entrées, try carefully plated dishes such as trout almondine with fresh catch that’s plucked from the nearby Snake River in Idaho (for the most part, the fish and other meats are all sourced from within 80 miles of the restaurant) or the pork chop from Utah’s Paisley Farms that’s finished with a smoked chili glaze. For more straightforward fare, visit the “Simply Cooked” portion of the menu. There, you’ll find grilled fish (Shetland salmon) and meat (Niman Ranch New York strip) that you can pair with flavorful sauces (soy-miso mustard, béarnaise).
An incentive to dine here outside of ski season is Summer Sundays, when you can have dinner on the Mountain Terrace and take in the scenery and live music. Each week, you’ll find a barbecue buffet that typically includes spit-roasted pig, lamb, Kobe beef and ribs; an array of sides; and a number of desserts.
Speaking of desserts, order Vongerichten’s signature warm chocolate cake. He lays claim to inventing the molten cake — which gushes a chocolate-pudding-like lava when you cut into it — in the ’80s, and it’s since become ubiquitous on menus all over the world. But the salted caramel sundae with peanuts and candied popcorn drizzled with fudge sauce is a tempting alternative.
The Other Meals
If you adored the short rib at dinner, have it in a hash with sunnyside-up eggs during breakfast. Or choose lighter fare like an egg white frittata with zucchini and basil or housemade yogurt studded with berries and granola.
When you need to refuel after an intense morning on the slopes, the lunch menu offers a pecorino-goat-cheese pizza topped with prosciutto, pears and pistachios; a crispy halibut sandwich with black olive tartar sauce and housemade pickles; and a grilled hanger steak frites. But we suggest going for the well-curated lunchtime buffet (which sometimes is set up out in the terrace). The spread includes several hot dishes, but your eyes will go directly to the sweets tables. One teems with brownie bites, shots of chocolate mousse, mini lemon tarts, black-and-white checkered cookies and more, and a second holds big glass jars filled with Reese’s Pieces, Swedish Fish, Andes mints, sour gummy worms and other candy (if you’re too full to indulge, grab one of the provided small plastic bags and save some for later).
Although J&G carries a substantial wine list, don’t leave the Deer Valley restaurant without trying its 7452 Mary — the bar turns out about 150 of these popular cocktails daily. Served in a stemless wine glass rimmed with agave nectar and black lava salt (the coal-colored salt pays homage to the area’s mining past), this one-of-a-kind Bloody Mary features oat-distilled Vodka 7000’ from local High West Distillery, a foamy wasabi and celery espuma (celery and green apple juices, lime, wasabi powder, salt, Xantana) and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. A plastic dropper floats in the cocktail like a garnish, but squeeze it to release a spicy burst of Worcestershire and Tabasco.
When it’s cold out, the Winter’s Dream is a must. Rich housemade hot chocolate gets a grown-up makeover with the addition of Baileys, amaretto and nutmeg (don’t worry — there’s still loads of whipped cream on top). The spiked hot chocolate hits the spot as an après-ski warmer.
While the cocktails steal the spotlight, the alcohol-free drinks are just as creative here. Peruse the housemade sodas for fun flavors like cherry yuzu, passion chili, sour orange and spiced cranberry.