YAMA Preview at Bistro C.V.

Downtown Steamboat Springs Bistro C.V. introduces on-mountain YAMA menu.

I have been wanting to eat at Bistro C.V. in downtown Steamboat Springs since it was new, and I learned that the chef, Brian Vaughn, was a Colorado pioneer in sous-vide cooking. I’m not sure that his immersion circulator will ever make it into the town’s Tread of the Pioneers Museum, but maybe it should because after all, a pioneer is a pioneer, no matter what the context. My wish to dine there came true this weekend at a dinner consisting of eight small plates, most with paired wines, at this super-cool, super-seasonal restaurant.

Brian Vaughn and his wife, Katy, own Bistro C.V. and also LOW Country Kitchen, where we ate the prior evening. Click here for my post. They are getting set to launch YAMA, described as a “modern Japanese and ramen bar,” at slopeside. Brian is building a menu that will blend Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian ingredients prepared using a Jade Range Custom Suite that is a dream commercial kitchen set-up for a technique-savvy chef with big ideas. The Vaughns hosted an eight-course dinner at Bistro C.V., the first four from its own menu and the final four from YAMA’s menu. It was the pinnacle experience of this very foodie weekend.

From the YAMA Menu

Hamachi tartare with whipped ponzu on s mirin cucumber and scallion an tiny radish from Elkstone Farm.
Hamachi tartare with whipped ponzu nested with a slice of mirin cucumber and scallion and atiny radish from Elkstone Farm.
Exquisite carpaccio of Emma Farms' tender and tasty wagyu beef, nama soy, ramen gel (whose composition and provenance I don't understand), Elkstone Farm arugula, pickled ramps and olive oil.
Zen-simple presentation of exquisite carpaccio of Emma Farms’ tender and tasty wagyu beef, nama soy, ramen gel (whose composition and provenance I don’t understand), Elkstone Farm arugula, pickled ramps and olive oil.
A small pot containing fine-looking and fine-tasting assemblage of a poached egg, smoked steelhead trout roe, nori, a Japanese citrus called sudachi and minced mustard greens.
A small pot containing fine-looking and fine-tasting assemblage of a poached egg, smoked steelhead trout roe, nori, a Japanese citrus called sudachi, finely ground almonds and mustard greens.
A pair of steamed buns, one with pork belly and the other vegetarian. Flavor punches come from sriracha kewpie mayo (a popular Japanese product made with rice vinegar), hoisin, cucumber and radish.
A pair of steamed buns, one with pork belly and the other vegetarian. Flavor punches come from sriracha kewpie mayo (a popular Japanese product made with rice vinegar), hoisin, cucumber and radish.

A Bit About Chef Brian & Katy Vaughn

Brian Vaughn
Brian Vaughn

There are two stories about the derivation of Bistro C.V.’s name. One is that it stands for Chef Vaughn. The other is that is stands for curriculum vitae — and Brian Vaughn’s C.V. is impressive. He began working in restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky at the age of 14 and was still a kid when he moved to Steamboat Springs to ski and continue working in the kitchens of local restaurants. At age 21, he forsook the mountains and moved to Napa to study at the Culinary Institute of America.

Brian returned to Steamboat and spent four years as sous-chef and then chef de cuisine at long-time Ski Town USA faves, Harwig’s/ l’Apogee. Next stop was Coral Gables, Florida, to train under the esteemed chef Norman Van Aken, a renowned chef who, among other honors was named one of the “Founders of the New American Cuisine” at Madrid Fusion, Spain’s International Summit of Gastronomy in 2006.

Katy Vaughn
Katy Vaughn

Returning to Steamboat, he married Katy (whose original name I don’t know), who had worked in restaurants while attending George Washington University and University of Miami, studying art and architecture. After graduating with a master’s, she moved to Steamboat, a lifelong family vacation spot. There she and Brian met and they opened bistro C.V. She has designed all three of the couple’s restaurants and is the front-of-the-house organizer and occasional hostess. I only briefly met the couple, but seems that Brian has the serious intensity of a dedicated chef, while Katy is an extrovert who smiles easily. It’s a good pairing for a restaurant couple.

From Bistro C.V.

Spicy herb salad shcasting Elkstone Farm's produce. In addition to super-fresh greens, it features red onion, apple, Haystack Mountain chevre, lemon vinaigrette and crispy quinoa, made by cooking, drying and dry-frying this grain.
Spicy herb salad showcasing Elkstone Farm’s produce. In addition to super-fresh greens, it features red onion, Palisda gala apple, Haystack Mountain chevre, lemon vinaigrette and crispy quinoa, made by cooking, drying and dry-frying this grain.
An entrée called Badon & Eggs consists of house-made maple bacon, manchego custard, (that's the
A dish called Bacon & Eggs consists of house-made maple bacon, manchego custard, (that’s the “egg” part) local sourdough, cilantro salsa verde and guajillo ketchup.
Emma Farms beef sirloin, slow-cooked and served with Elkstone Farm root vegetables, potato confit and Bouguignon broth.
Emma Farms beef sirloin, slow-cooked and served with Elkstone Farm root vegetables, potato confit and Bouguignon broth.
Even after seven little courses, there's always room for dessert. Here, the autumn hues and flavors of pumpkin-mascarpone cheesecake, warm brown butter sponge, brown sugar Anglaise and  spiked whipped cream. And to drink after all that wine, an after-dinner cocktail of Bailey's, Frangelico and vodka sipped from a glass with crumbled pretzel on the rim.
Even after seven small-plate courses, there’s always room for dessert. Here, the autumn hues and flavors of pumpkin-mascarpone cheesecake, warm brown butter sponge, brown sugar Anglaise and spiked whipped cream.
And to drink after all that wine, an after-dinner cocktail of Bailey's, Frangelico and vodka sipped from a glass with crumbled pretzel on the rim.
And to drink after all that wine, an after-dinner cocktail of Bailey’s, Frangelico and vodka sipped from a glass with crumbled pretzel on the rim.

Price check: The menu often changes, and this is the off-season. Current prices, which may or may not change come winter: small plates, $5-$11; cheese and charcuterie, $11-$14; “middle course,” $10-$16; mains, $23-39. There is currently a $45 four-course tasting menu, plus $25 for paired wines.
Bistro C.V. on Urbanspoon

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