The Greenbriar — At Long Last

First Bite Boulder spurred first visit to long-running Boulder restauant 

I’ve driven past The Greenbriar Inn a zillion times since moving to Boulder in 1988, always noticing its charming exterior, aware of its long popularity and vowing to dine there “some day.” It is north of Boulder, en route to Lyons, but because we live within walking distance of downtown Boulder with its abundance of excellent restaurants, we tend not to get into the car for just a bite to eat. Then again, even from the outside, The Greenbriar–with its classic country dining air, never seemed like a place for anything less than a leisurely, full-on meal. “Some day” came on the last evening of this year’s First Bite Boulder was the inventive for me and my husband to pay The Greenbriar a visit. The two couples with whom we ate had both been there, but not in a number of years, so we all equally eager.

Just as there is such a thing as comfort food, there are comfortable places in which to eat, and The Greenbriar certainly is one in terms of atmosphere, but it is also a fine dining establishment with such time-honored touches as Caesar salad and bananas Foster prepared at tableside. The main dining room is large, with beamed ceiling, well-spaced tables, white napery, dishes patterned to resemble English bone china and a moderate noise level that encourages conversation and just enough light so that it’s possible to read the menu. Two-thirds of us ate from the $26 three-course menu accompanied by the $15 flight of three wines; one couple selected items from the à la carte menu.

Chicken and duck pâté with Bearnaise sauce and cracker-crisp slices of bread arrived as we studied the menu.


Roasted pumpkin bisque with a ribbon of leek purée and cinnamon croutons.
Mussels and rock shrimp — three of each — in a cioppino broth and a bit of chive oil, plus what they call a “foccacia plank.”


Braised short rib with roasted potatoes, babby carros, truffled celery salad and caramelized cipollini onions.


Block Cut New York sirloin from the regular menu, a generous portion of meat with smashed roasted fingerlings, Peppadew peppers and asparagus, and bleu cheese-peppercorn demi from the regular menu. At $32, it costs more than all three First Bite courses, underscoring the value of this annual promotion.


Sprightly sorbet with a single frosty blueberry as a palate-cleanser.


While the red and white wines were brought out together at the beinning of the meal, so that diners could decide which they wanted with the first course and which with the entree, the dessert wine (here a Warres Warrior Port from the $15 flight) comes out in the proper glass at the proper time.


Pumpkin bread pudding with single-barrel Bourbon sauce and maple-pecan ice cream.


Black Forest Lava Cake with razzcherries and Mascarpone whipped cream.

Price check: On the regular dinner menu, $8-$18, soups and salads, $9 (plus $18 for Caesar salad for two); entrées, $22-$38; desserts, $6-$8 (plus $18 for bananas Foster for two).

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