Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Fort - Exotic Meats

For our 30th anniversary, Judy and I ate dinner at the Fort, a restaurant located at 19192 Hwy 8 in Morrison, Colorado, on the outskirts of Denver. Similar to the Buckhorn Exchange, the Fort has a menu loaded with a variety of game and unusual dishes. It is a replica of Bent's Fort which was a trading post in the 19th century. Below, the entrance as seen from the parking lot.
A type of serpent, which appears to be a symbol of the Fort, rests on red rock near the Fort.
A picture from inside the Fort courtyard, looking outside the walls to the red rock above it.
Wonderful lizard doorhandles on the front door of the restaurant.
Hanging chilis near the entrance to the restaurant.
As with the Buckhorn Exchange, I went in knowing what I wanted to order. One item was braised buffalo tongue. Buffalo tongue was a delicacy and the first part of the buffalo consumed by trappers and settlers in the 19th century. The tongue we had was sliced into thin strips and placed on a small, crisp, piece of toast. It also came with a creamy horseradish sauce. The tongue itself, without the horseradish, tasted almost exactly like beef. The horseradish was good, but covered up the distinct beef taste when added.
We also had buffalo eggs. These were cooked quail eggs surrounded by buffalo sausage, with a raspberry/jalapeno jam on the side. Judy really liked them. I was not quite as high on them. To me, the buffalo sausage was too dry - nowhere near as moist and spicy as the buffalo sausage at the Buckhorn Exchange. The raspberry/jalapeno jam was very good and made the buffalo eggs much better. However, if they had been more moist, they would have been much better.
The most unusual dish, and the one I anticipated the most, was roast buffalo marrow bones. I have always loved scooping the marrow out of ham, lamb and beef bones, and particularly lamb. However, I was not prepared for this volume of marrow. It was very good, and the consistency was the same as other marrow I've had, but there was A LOT of it.
We were told to scoop out the marrow from the bones and put it on a piece of toast. It was quite good, best with just some added salt. It was suggested that we add some jalapeno hot sauce, but I felt like it detracted from the taste. However, after eating the marrow from about 1 3/4s bones, I couldn't eat any more. It was too much of a good thing. Too rich and fatty. We ended up not eating it all.
I had an absolutely wonderful house salad with smoked duck and crumpled blue cheese. It was one of the best salads I've ever eaten. The combination was incredible.
Finally, I had a half rack of buffalo ribs (four ribs), cooked with Jack Daniel's barbeque sauce. I've had buffalo ribs before and really loved them. However, the Jack Daniel's sauce was so strong that it really overpowered the meat. Plus, the meat was a little over-cooked for my taste. I saved most of it for breakfast the next morning. I also had cheddar cheese mashed potatoes which were wonderfully thick, chunky and tasty.
Judy made the best choice of the whole trip - a 20 ounce buffalo ribeye. It was one of the best pieces of meat I've ever eaten. The ribeye is more fatty and thus has more flavor and is moist and juicy. I don't know what it was marinated in or cooked with, but it was fantastic! Judy shared liberally with me and she also had some left over for breakfast the next morning.
I would love to go back to the Fort multiple times to sample the menu. It was a truly pleasurable dining experience.

I finally got back to the Fort two years later, in August 2011, with Sam and Andrew. Here is an outside picture during day light.
It is the largest adobe building in Colorado. During dinner we had a man dressed as a trapper wandering around who would sneak up behind us and just stand there. It got a little annoying after awhile. I ordered buffalo bone marrow again (wonderful again), and lamb riblets in a citrus bbq sauce which  overwhelmed the taste of the lamb. At Andrew's behest, we also had Rocky Mountain oysters, made from buffalo testicles, which were fantastic, and a smoked duck quesadilla 
with aged Mexican cheeses and a mango-chipotle salsa. 
The quesadilla was good, but the buffalo bone marrow far outstripped any of the other appetizers. I had two 5 oz. lamb t-bones with leek and garlic mashed potatoes and chayote squash. 
The lamb was some of the best tasting lamb I've ever eaten. The boys took a taste and proclaimed it the best tasting item of our meal. Very tender, rare and flavorful. Sam got the Game Plate, 
the most popular dish, which included a buffalo filet medallion, an elk chop and a grilled teriyaki quail. 
The quail was okay, a little dry, but the elk chop was by far the best elk I've ever eaten. It was rare and juicy and had a fantastic flavor. At the time, when I took a taste, I thought I was eating buffalo. I normally am not a big elk fan, it is usually a little dry because it has so little fat. If I could have elk like that, I would be a big, big fan. Andrew, on the other hand got the Quinoa Vegetarian Tower, which included quinoa, squash, anasazi beans, red peppers, corn, green chile and garlic, avocado relish and chile aioli. 
I admire Andrew for his vegetarian leanings (he did eat bites of the lamb and elk, as well as buffalo marrow), I can't do that when there is all of this exotic meat available. It did not disappoint. The boys loved the Fort and I look forward to going there again some day. 

1 comment:

  1. Ah, the memories! This is truly a unique and wonderful place. Glad you got a chance to enjoy it! Next time we do a Colorado hike, we'll have to go there again.