THE WINDING MOUNTAIN road ends one hour north of Yellowstone National Park at the Summit Hotel, elevation 7,500 feet. Anchored in a window laden corner is the Carabiner Bar & Grill offering views of God’s country. As we stumbled in awe, gazing out at the stunning scenery we were greeted by warm smiles that lead us to a comfortable window seat for two.
The ziplining and whitewater rafting adventures from the day were enough to make me want to eat a horse, but luckily here Bison and Wagyu beef are the stars of Chef Michael Bockelman’s summer menu. The carte du jour is traditional bar and grill; from lighter fare of salads, soups, sandwiches and burgers to Montana NY Strip and Alaskan Salmon as well as delectable plates of red quinoa salad, smoked tofu sandwiches or Moussaka for the discriminating vegetarian. Plates ranged from $11-31, allowing for any range of budget.
Outside there is a terrace where vacationers and conference attendees (indicated by the square name tags on white lanyards around their necks) were enjoying the fresh mountain air as they dined. While inside the room fashions mountain elegance with stone colored walls, black stone accents, vintage French ski resort art hanging on the walls and a cozy fireplace to water glasses with hand holds in them.
We decided to dive right into the local flavor with a small plate of the Bison Satay paired with a Monchoff Estate Riesling, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer 2010. The grilled bison skirt steak was mounted on top of a cold chili and pineapple buckwheat noodle salad with rice pickled vegetables. The warm tender bison was more sweet than spicy and disappeared rapidly between the two of us, one of us using silverware, the other opting to eat off the skewer.
As we continued on we chose the Montana Smokehouse Ribs with a glass of Zenaida Cabernet, Paso Robles 2009 and the Wagyu Noodle bowl with a glass of the Riesling again as recommended by the sommelier. The ribs were-so-tender- juicy-meaty and covered in a naturally sweet huckleberry glaze with a side of fresh slaw. We had agreed to share, but I didn’t want to. The apex of the bowl of rice noodle was a delicately marbled Wagyu skirt steak that scored the heat of the spicy Vietnamese broth. This was served Montana style where the helping of beef overshadows the vegetables in the bowl.
Chocolate Fondue for Two- who could say no in this alpine environment? With a glass of Dows 10 year tawny we sat grinning across the table at each other bite after bite of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and petit four sec dipped in warm Belgian chocolate ganache. The hedonists that we are, we also ordered a bowl of house made vanilla ice cream with season appropriate strawberry-rhubarb sauce. Sharing is not so bad, as long as you can share two desserts.
Carabiner Bar & Grill, Summit Hotel
1 Lone Mountain Trail, Big Sky, Montana; (406) 995-8078
Summer season open daily 11:00am – 11:00pm