When I look back over a spectacular summer of dining, three dishes immediately rise to the top—and all are from Vail's Restaurant Kelly Liken .
Chef Liken, who owns the eponymous restaurant with her husband, wine director and general manager Rick Colomitz, is perhaps best known as a Top Chef  Season 7 finalist. She's also a James Beard  nominee and one of Bon Appétit ’s “female chefs to watch.” But it's the 33-year-old’s exceptional seasonal cuisine that keeps fans like me clamoring for a table.
Liken shows off her considerable talent night after night with beautifully executed dishes such as a grilled watermelon steak topped with crispy-skinned, braised pork belly, surrounded by cilantro chimichurri and pickled rhubarb. Another high note: The tender veal chop with locally foraged chanterelles, baby corn shoots, and natural jus, served with an Olathe corn -Yukon Gold gratin and sautéed beet greens. Lastly, the must-order sticky bun sundae (a dessert that's been on the menu since the beginning) comes with homemade vanilla bean ice cream, warm pecan-studded caramel, house-spun sugar, and nuggets of cinnamon sticky bun.
Bonus: Check out Liken’s website  for updates on her culinary vacations, like a cooking and Pilates adventure in Piedmonte, Italy.
12 Vail Rd., Vail, 970-479-0175