Snake River Grill, Jackson Hole, WY
A splendid casual western-styled bistro in the enchanting town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Snake River Grill, in the old section of town, has a decor that is fascinatingly original. Moreover, the restaurant offers impeccable service and excellent, uncompromising, simple but well-prepared food. The wine list is amazing, and no doubt reflects the wealthy, discriminating clientele that make this the favorite eating and watering hole in Jackson. The superb, young, vibrant Domaine Leflaive 1995 Chevalier Montrachet possesses great concentration and intensity, yet wonderful minerality and youthfulness. Even though it's coming up on its 10th birthday, it tastes like it is 3-4 years old. Moreover, it has another decade of aging ahead of it. This is my favorite white Burgundy vintage of the last ten years.
We next had two extraordinary bottles of 1959 La Mission Haut Brion. A perfect wine, it has been matched more recently by the 1982. The Nicolas bottlings were in pristine condition because they were kept in extremely cold, almost quarry-like conditions in Paris. Both of these bottles were prodigious wines offering notes of tar, tobacco smoke, glorious quantities of red and black fruits, truffles, earth, and a scorched/volcanic ash component. Broad, expansive, opulent, and unctuous, the wines were both fully mature yet still vigorous, even youthful. They only revealed a slight lightening and a touch of amber at the edge. Both were decanted several hours in advance. What a treat!
The food was top-flight in a simple, western bistro style. Everything was prepared properly, not overly complicated, but obviously made from very fine ingredients. I'm sorry I live so far away ... this is the type of restaurant I could eat in several times a week. Kudos to Chef Jeff Drew and manager/maitre d' August Spier.
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Petit Louis Bistro
A lookalike, authentic French bistro, Petit Louis in Baltimore's Roland Park is the creation of restauranteurs par excellence Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman. You feel like you’ve walked into a bistro on the Left Bank of Paris when you enter Petit Louis. The food is classic bistro, and they do it well. All of the courses we had were flavorful, sometimes a trifle rustic, but delicious in their intensity. This was good comfort food prepared extremely well. The wines started with one of the major surprises for me over the last year, the 2006 sparking wine from Tony Soter in Oregon. I had this several times while I was out visiting Oregon, and I had always been impressed, but this is a 10-year-old sparking Rosé that is just sensational, and I’m talking world class—it’s that good. Something this good from France would cost at least two to three times as much, so kudos to Tony Soter. The 1995 Billaud-Simon Chablis Mont de Milieu was oxidized and undrinkable. The 1996 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos St. Urbain Rangen de Thann was sweet, and although it went well with the foie gras, it was just a little too unctuous and sweet a wine...