As our server Shauna approached the table to take a drink order with her signature smile, the business of the day began to evaporate into the tumbling water of Trail Creek as it raced just feet from where we sat. The wide wooden deck, perched inches away from the burbling stream, was set with umbrellaed tables and offered a full bar, complete with comfortable bar stools and festooned with twinkling lights.
Welcome to summer at Trail Creek Cabin, Sun Valley’s historic restaurant located 1.5 miles east of the Sun Valley Lodge. This romantic hideaway in the Idaho hills was originally built in 1937 as a hunting lodge and now offers a first-class dining experience featuring a menu filled with the freshest, most local, most seasonal choices available.
This summer, creekside dining is a must-do. Though the restaurant normally offers al fresco dining on the lawn adjacent to the restaurant, there is something really special about descending the steps onto the deck. The slight mineral smell of the creek and the sounds it makes as it bounces over rocks and around bends ensure a one-of-a-kind experience.
Through June 21, the menu at Trail Creek Cabin includes a nightly “deck” special, that for $15.95, is a can’t-miss. This week, the special included a grilled New York Steak with crushed red potatoes and seasonal vegetables accompanied by a glass of red wine and ending with homemade cinnamon ice cream.
The rest of the menu this summer, under the direction of Chef Wendy Little, is full of delicious details and fan favorites. Small plates include House Smoked Rainbow Trout with potato and watercress salad, a Charcuterie Plate and Ground Elk-Buffalo Sliders. A complement of salads provide a light interlude and rely on locally grown, in-season ingredients. Large plates range from Grilled Eggplant for the vegetarian to a Bone-In Cowboy Rib Eye for those who crave a taste of the wide-open range. Of course, wonderful fish dishes like Cedar Planked Alaskan King Salmon and Potato Wrapped Idaho Sturgeon with sublime sides are also available.
Trail Creek Cabin is also known for it’s hand-crafted cocktails and extensive wine list. Bartender Richard carefully prepares Basil Lemondrops using fresh basil that is still growing behind the bar. Another favorite is a Huckleberry Mojito, full of the flavor of fresh local huckleberries. My favorite is the Hawaiian Cosmopolitan made with fresh pineapple. It’s a trip to the beach without ever having to leave the beautiful Idaho mountains.
Save room for dessert as Trail Creek Cabin’s enormous “Mile High” Mud Pie is something you have to taste to believe. They also serve local ice creams, a wonderful chocolate lava cake and specialties featuring in-season berries and fruit.
For dinner one night recently, our party of four enjoyed a relaxing dinner on the deck and ordered a wide selection from the menu. I sampled the night’s Market Salad that was comprised of the freshest local asparagus, crumbled egg, a bit of breadcrumb and hazelnuts. It was accompanied by a wild mushroom strudel and was absolutely perfect. Our large plates ranged from the Bone-In Cowboy Rib Eye (with the best buttermilk onion rings ever), the deck special, Brick Red Organic Rotisserie Chicken and the Slow Cooked Heritage Pork Ribs. Delicious!
To make a special night even more special, book a round-trip carriage ride to Trail Creek Cabin from the Resort. This approximately half-hour journey includes beautiful scenery and the chance to take life at a slighter slower pace. For details on this memorable option and to ask about the Mountain Romance package, please call 208.622.2387.
Reservations for dinner are available by calling 208.622.2097 and dinner is served Tuesday through Saturday 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Dinner on the deck beside Trail Creek – it really feels, and tastes, like summer!