304 S. Lena Street 970/626-3737
Chef Adrian Musgrove of the Four Corners Café described his winning appetizer at this year’s Taste of Ouray competition. Standing at our table on the second floor of Ridgway’s Chipeta Solar Springs Resort, with a sunset view of the valley fields and the big peaks on three sides, Chef Adrian detailed his smoked salmon stuffed mushrooms with a peanut crust. The kicker was the creative way he used the competition’s secret ingredient: Girl Scout cookies. “I chose the peanut butter cookies and made the crust from them.”
That creativity extended to his winning entree as well, an oven-roasted chicken breast with a cilantro lime sauce, roasted chipotle potato pearls and braised brussel sprout halves with bacon. Luckily for us, this one is on the menu every night at the Four Corners.
Along with a half dozen other staples gleaned from Musgrove’s training at two disparate but tastefully compatible prior positions: at Le Cordon Bleu Scottsdale and as the owner-chef of Ridgway’s much-loved Welded Elephant outdoor barbecue.
“I miss my barbecue,” Musgrove said. But the opportunity at the Four Corners, in Ridgway’s upscale spa resort, was a clarion call. (He has been cooking all his life, beginning at age 15, at an Italian pizzeria in Germany.)
As with the Taste of Ouray competition, appetizers hold center stage at the Four Corners. And the sauces reflect Musgrove’s classic French training. The cilantro and coriander shrimp cocktail ($9) comes with a particularly sophisticated sweet-and-sour rush. The bison sliders ($9) are slathered with a creamy sweet onion aioli sauce. And the brie and white cheddar quesadillas ($7) – with grape tomatoes inside and fresh berries on top – can be dipped in either the homemade salsa or a tangy queso cheese sauce.
Musgrove is pushing the Four Corners toward “100 percent local and organic.” He figures they are about 90 percent of the way now. “Our vegetables change every week depending on what is fresh from our guy in Paonia,” he said. The lamb is local ($22). The rainbow trout, especially good with a panko crust and a sage white wine butter sauce, is Colorado-raised ($15). The charbroiled sirloin ($24) is another southwest Colorado product.
They feature organic wines, too, though not exclusively. An Argentine Malbec compliments the steak especially well.
And, finally, the deserts – there are two or three new ones each week – come from Ridgway local girl, Sweet Cakes. The chocolate mouse cake is richer than Mayor Bloomberg. And there is usually fresh fruit or a cheesecake.
THE VIBE: The Chipeta is really coming into its own under new management, and seems to be attracting guests to its solar-heated spas and pools, its modern Puebloan architecture, friendly vibe, and to the scenic and recreation hub that Ridgway has become. Business is good. Accordingly, the Four Seasons Café will now be open year round. It has a new Sky Bar upstairs on the third-floor roof with sweeping views of the Cimarron and Sneffels Ranges, shade umbrellas, heaters if needed, and a full bar. You can eat on the roof, too. On Wednesday and Friday nights through the summer, they bring live music in, which usually packs the place, with locals and visitors alike.
$$ Wednesday-Sunday nights 5:30-9 p.m. Also open for southwest-style breakfasts 7-11 a.m.