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Midvalley Restaurants: Cuvée World Bistro

Todd Hartley's picture

Taking its name from a French term for blended wine, Cuvée World Bistro can be found at 305 Gold Rivers Court in the heart of downtown Basalt. A hit since its opening in the summer of 2007, Cuvée enters its third summer with a sterling reputation for great food and excellent wines as well as a spacious new lounge area built in the spring of 2009.

With the opening of the new lounge, Cuvée is fast becoming a major presence on the Basalt nighttime scene, with generous crowds on hand to take advantage of the friendly bar service and happy hour specials. There is even talk of having live music from time to time in one corner of the bar. But it is still the food and wine that take top billing at this casually upscale eatery.

The first thing one notices about the menu during a meal at Cuvée is that all the items, even the appetizers and salads, are listed with a suggested wine pairing. For instance, the wild mushroom cakes, a house specialty, are listed with a Foris Pinot Noir from Oregon, while the exceedingly popular mahogany roasted duck is meant to be paired with a Steltzner Merlot from Napa Valley. Other edible highlights from the eclectic menu include the queso fundido with chorizo spiced shrimp and the marinated portabello and crispy polenta tower, a mouth-watering stack of mushrooms and polenta served over roasted red tomato sauce.

In addition to its suggested food pairings, the wine (there are 60 vintages available by the glass) is available in “flights.” These groupings of three different half-glasses are intended to give diners are representative sample of various varietals and come with such clever names as “Que Sirah, Syrah, Shiraz” and “Pinot Gris-gios,” giving not-so-subtle hints as to which wines they include. The thoughtfully cultivated wine list spans the globe and features little-known surprises such as a Gruner Veltliner and a Müller-Thurgau to go along with the more traditional chardonnays, cabernets, merlots and pinots.

The restaurant is the brainchild of Chef Mitch Levy and his wife Krystal, longtime Roaring Fork Valley locals who opened the first Cuvée in Tucson, Arizona, in 2003. Inspired by a desire to get back to the valley, Mitch and Krystal opened their second restaurant in Basalt and then split time between the two until November of 2007, when they closed the Tucson location.

The central idea of the restaurant, according to Chef Levy, is to show that it’s possible to have fantastic food and amazing wine together without being overpriced. With that in mind, everything on the menu is under $25, and the wines start at just $5.50 a glass. For those who must, there are also a couple of bottles available for more than $100, but if you’re simply looking for a quality meal paired with a tasty glass or three of wine, and you don’t have piles of cash to spend, Cuvée World Bistro is, as its menu states, “The perfect blend.”