Foothills Dining: Evergreen's Willow Creek

February 2012

I’m accustomed to restaurants located in the Foothills offering sweeping views and a welcoming, woodsy setting. But rarely am I impressed with the cuisine. Dinner at Willow Creek Restaurant in Evergreen, however, renewed my hope for nearby mountain dining.

The restaurant (formerly Aspen Grill) overlooks the serene setting of Evergreen Lake. The space is warm and welcoming but it's the food that won me over. On a recent Saturday evening, I ordered chicken under a brick and was thoroughly impressed by chef and co-owner Curtis Lincoln's preparation. The half chicken was juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside—a combination of textures that's almost impossible to come by. The meat was crusted with a flavorful blend of herbs, lemon zest, and crispy bacon, and served over a hearty mixture of winter vegetables that included baby potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and carrots. An elegant rosemary chicken glace completed the dish.

Lincoln explains that the brick cooking method allows the meat to cook evenly, maximizes the crispy outer layer, and seals in the juices—the evidence of which was on the plate. The next time you need a night away from the city (Valentine's Day, perhaps?), head up to Willow Creek.

Sip This: Pair the chicken with a bottle of Carol Shelton Rocky Reserve Zinfandel, a smooth pour brimming with hints of blackberry, chocolate, and spice.

29029 Upper Bear Creek Road, Evergreen, 303-674-9463