Restaurant at Downing Mountain Lodge
for adventurous diners....
machine, Snowshoe, and Ski-In Dinners come early for backcountry skiing/snowshoeing
"Absolutely the best meal I have eaten in the Bitterroot
Valley. Exquisite and well worth the trip. An adventure in dining and a lot of
fun!" John Kauffman
Downing Mountain Lodge
by reservation 406-531-1486
la Carte Menu
Arugula, carrot and
cabbage with citrus $5
with Reggiano and goddess dressing 5
crusted tuna with avocado and arugula 12
curry soup with lemongrass 9
Shrimp shu-mai with ginger ponzu 13
Painted hills ribeye satay with red chili sauce 15
organic pork chop 13
Chili and basil
Black sesame chicken
with coriander 14
Prawns with red
curry paste and coconut milk 15
tofu with grated daikon 11
bok choy with garlic and ginger 7
paprika and scallion smashed potatoes 5
Jasmine rice in green tea 3
carrots with garlic 6
* * *
and lemon sorbet 4
Green tea or cardamom
ice cream 5
Vanilla ice cream with
organic maple syrup 7
special... Thai spice chili, rice and bread $11.
crusted tuna with avocado and arugula, painted hills rib-eye satay with red chili
sauce, mango and lemon sorbet $23.
Green curry soup with lemongrass, shrimp shu-mai with ginger ponzu, chili and
basil mahi-mahi, mango and lemon sorbet 29.
Shrimp shu-mai with ginger ponzu, painted hills ribeye satay with red chili sauce,
baby bok choy with ginger and garlic, green tea ice cream 31.
crusted tuna with avocado and arugula, green curry soup with lemongrass, shrimp
shu-mai with ginger ponzu, maple-ginger-soy organic pork chop, cardamom ice cream
* * *
Chef Matthew Mckean
Over the weekend of the 21st, we embarked on an Eastern mission. With flavors
spanning from Japan, Thailand and Malaysia, the night began with a very traditional
Thai dish, papaya salad. The salad was laced with chili paste, green papaya, and
bean sprouts-the smell that remains unappealing yet a flavor that is to die for...fish
sauce. Alongside the salad was a chilled nectar of tamarind mixed with mint and
lime. This was an effort to offer something between wine and water to refresh
our guests. We served a green curry soup which had been cooked in several stages
over 48 hours. Starting with lemongrass, shallot, garlic and green curry paste,
the soup slowly evolved and gained a velvet texture with a strong hint of Thai
chilis which were added fresh every few hours, some of them still had a snappy
crunch and vibrant green color as well as some heat!
dumplings, dim-sum style were constructed from scratch using prawns. These prawns
were made into a mousse than folded into rice paper and steamed. I incorporated
a dynamite dumpling with a large dose of spice as well as a more mild style, one
that was pan seared then steamed with a sweet red chili cabbage and daikon. Our
guests could definitely handle the heat. As they absorbed flavor, music and energy,
we prepared the sorbet. It was a mix of mango and lemon, the mango a little more
acid which really makes the sweet and sour tremble on your tongue. Our next stop
landed us on the streets of Kuala-lumpor eating satay marinated with ginger, shallot
and peanuts served with a sweet red chili dipping sauce. We used painted hills
rib-eye which has a robust marbled flavor. All the portions tonight purpously
left you wanting more. Just the right size to bring instant gratification but
not to fill you.
A taste of some baby
bok choy kept the palet interested as we segued into the delicate mahi-mahi. The
fish was pan seared with red curry paste, basil and coconut milk. The sauce builds
around the filet blending soft textures involving all the tastebuds. Our guests
sipped on chardonnay and reached a blissful state. The dinner had already hit
3 hours, it was fluid like a river so we did not rush dessert. At this point Cree,
Johnny, Will and I had our own tasting menu in the kitchen and enjoyed the playlist.
Eventually the diners were ready for our dessert. Tonight we played with ice cream
and spice, using green tea and cardamom ice cream with fresh mint and figs. This
was one of our most pleasant nights. Eastern cuisine offers a meditative state
from the plate to the palet, the effects last longer than the taste.... we will
be continuing an asian influenced menu through march, come in and meditate!
Matthew Mckean sous chef: Will Skyrud
Cupid was alive and well at
55-50 on valentines day. As our guests came in after skiing, we warmed them up
with some organic hot chocolate with a bite of jack daniels to take away any lasting
chill. This was accompianied by some tangy strawberries dusted with cocoa powder.
After a period of mingling with each other Jenny seated the patrons and prepared
them for the soup course. With a few ounces of chanterelles, fresh from scratch
creme fraiche and a touch of smoked paprika, a very robust soup was served. Laughter
and a general loving energy filled the room. Tonight's salad was made up to highlight
the mighty avovcado. I pureed the wonderful fruit with garlic, olive oil and some
white wine vinegar giving it a little zing. The tuna herbally pleased with fennel
pollen and fresh pepper accenting the spicy arugula. An intermezzo of mango sorbet
was served, this allows the palet to be cleaned as well as offers some extra time
for Will and I to put the finishing touches on the entree.
In classic Americana we delivered a comforting hamburger. It was not your typical
burger! The local grass fed cow came blanketed with carmelized morel mushrooms,
ossau iraty cheese -of French sheeps milk- pancetta- and a basil aoli served open
faced. Hand-cut fries cooked in peanut oil offered a nuttier version then most.
A traditional, French green bean offered added crunch to an already textured meal.
The plates returned empty from the dining room and we sent out the cheese course.
The cheese course gives everyone the chance to finish their wine and prepare for
the dessert. Tonight I chose three different cheeses. The first being mahon, a
spanish cows milk, manchego, one many are familliar with and the creamy point
reyes blue from California. The cheeses were paired with dark chocolate and fresh
hazelnuts as well as some currants, and red grapes. The cheese course catalyzed
more conversation and Will, Jenny, and Cree prepared the dessert for the final
stage. The dessert was a unique pot de creme using a blend of flower power and
aphrodisiac using Ylang-Ylang and crushed lavender flower to accent the custard.
This dessert left everybody giggling and flirty with a glowing and vibrant valentine
light. The crowd trickled out all finding their own way down the mountain be it
walking, snow cat or snowmobile, or snow sled, skis or snowboard. Full of food
and love this valentines was a wonderful overall evening, thank you all for coming.
of January brought us another delectable night at 55-50. As our customers came
by foot and snowmobile, Will and I were putting the final touches on our nights
preparation. The evening began with crisp thin crust pizza blanketed with morel
and chanterelle mushrooms as well as a comforting pizza made with fine buffalo
mozzarella and organic basil. As usual the first course took place away from the
formal table. This allows the guests to unwind by the fire and relax on the couch.
When the crowd appeared ready, we served the soup. Consisting of mainly carrot
and parsnip it was hearty with a velvet texture and a touch of hazelnut dust,
it made winter crackle right out of the bowl. After our guests were warm from
the soup we moved on to a salad of currants, tangy cranberries together with micro-greens
and a maple-balsamic syrup as the dressing. The main course consisted of a nutty
Mahi-Mahi blanketeed with hand ground pistacios as well as a pesto of roasted
red pepper and basil. Silky sweet potatos and yams joined forces for an amazingly
light puree full of spice and color. As the plate is art, a green ensemble of
broccoli dusted with vibrant hungarian paprika and sel gris complemented the rest
of the dish. In typical french fashion we embarked on a mission into the cheese
course. Individual plates were served with the focus on certain regions of the
globe, spain(mahon,manchego), southern france(ossau iraty) and california (humboldt
fog,pt.reyes blue). Our guests transisioned there wine selections with each course
as bottles from the 80's were shared with all. The evening was not quite over,
our final destination would be cheesecake. The cake was made without eggs or sugar
using honey and maple syrup to replace, served with a foamy mango cream atop.
All the guests left full and happy as the snowmobile headed down the hill!
chef Matthew Mckean
January 17th and
After two very buttery nights at 55-50,
I have come to the conclusion that we have something very special. We began both
nights with some asian persuasion. Black sesame crusted tuna followed by a spice
dusted dish with coconut milk, basil and prawns. When you start like this the
finish must complement the beginning. After sorbet we embarked on a spirited mission
to Provence. A basic French style soup of potato and leek with a chive creme fraiche
led us into the salad course. From France to Tuscany with spicy arugula fizzing
with nutty reggiano and some piquant pomegranate seeds. With glass after glass
of wine being poured we moved on to the main course. The filet mignon, which was
locally grass fed came blanketed with caramelized porcinis, and a shallot and
garlic compound butter. Alongside the phenomenal cut of beef were foamy mashed
potatoes with an accent of caramelized leek and roasted asparagus in fine extra
virgin olive oil and garlic. To finish the evening we served a velvety pot de
creme of 72% organic cacao and a trembling topping of Knob Creek hand whipped
cream. The evenings were not rushed and the diners felt free to mingle with each
other, drink and reflect on the meal together. Thank you all for joining us. Chef
" It is the new culinary hotspot
in the Bitterroot. The lodge feels young and relaxed as do the host and hostess.
Chef Matty McKean greets everyone with a European embrace. The atmosphere is conversation
friendly with soft lantern lighting. I stare at the floating crisped sage leaves
in my potato leek soap and taste the slight taste of green tea. I am in sensory
delight all night. It is indeed a new kind of place." Nansu Roddy
an amazing opportunity to see the Bitterroot Valley from a different perspective!
A recent "escape" to Downing Mountain Lodge, located on an awe-inspiring perch
above Hamilton, provided a tremendous dining experience... Chef Matthew, offered
up a feast of unique culinary plates - showing he is a well traveled, talented
chef. Mattie's use of the freshest, local ingredients made each bite memorable.
Each course was personally presented with thought and perspective on his experiences
in South America and Asia - exhibiting his overall passion for food. My personal
favorite was the potato-leek soup that had a hint of jasmine green tea in the
stock - "for vitality" Chef Mattie stated when asked why the green tea! The Lodge
is a winter retreat for back country skiing - but they have opened this restaurant
during the weekends to offer and share an opportunity for destination dining.
The hike up to the restaurant was beautiful, the hike down even more spectacular
under the stars! The Lodge Hosts - owners John & Jen - personally walked us up
& down - with tiki torches to light each switch back! And for those that don't
want to hike, the Lodge will arrange snow mobiles or weather permitting, a snow
cat. Ski, snow-shoe or hike - I am quite sure that if you choose to go, you won't
be disappointed. " Susie Thomas