Gourmet burgers are having as much of a moment in the culinary world right now as bourbon is having in the whiskey world. (For the uninformed, burgers and bourbon are huge right now.) And that popularity will only grow as the boundaries of what can be done in those two realms is pushed. This isn’t your grandpa’s whiskey world anymore, nor it is it your grandma’s burger realm.
The two trends have been combined into one concept, simply named Burgers & Bourbon, at The Montage in Park City. Last week I visited the bar/restaurant to see how the notoriously fancy Deer Valley Resort does casual dining.
The Montage at Deer Valley is synonymous with luxury. Well-known throughout Utah for its grandeur, beautiful views, and expensive price tag, it’s not a place many locals tend to visit. But lured by the promise of 100 whiskeys and with summer encouraging longer days, my friend and I thought it’d be worth the drive to check out.
The atmosphere of Burgers & Bourbon is ironic at best. Loaded with dark wood décor, a big classic bar, and a blazing fireplace in the center of the dining room, it’s not what I imagined for a burger place. But the Montage is first and foremost a mountain ski lodge and that’s the theme speaking loudest.
First, bourbon. The cocktail list is exclusively whiskey-based, hovering around the $14 range. There are four flights available ($17-22) or you can build your own from a binder (yes, a binder) with 100 whiskeys (spanning American to Japanese), complete with descriptions and tasting notes. I was fascinated with how informative it was. If you’re not a whiskey drinker, there are wines ($14-36/glass) and beers (all American, all $8/each).
We started with fried pickle chips with a side of paprika ranch dipping sauce ($9), an admittedly odd choice for two people not too fond of pickles, but the batter was incredibly light, not overly greasy and the pickles were crispy and tangy. I was surprised how much I liked them. Other starter options are wagyu nachos with steak and guacamole ($23), bourbon barbecue wings ($14), and mac & cheese with bourbon caramelized onions ($11).
Now, burgers. The burgers are quite creative. There are those on the simple side: a classic (with cheddar, $15); blue (with blue cheese, $16); naked (bun-less with greens, $15); and one dripping with chili and cheese ($17); those with interesting meats, like wild turkey (with tzatziki, $16), bison (“Tatanka,” $18), and tuna (“Big Eye,” $21); plus big burgers (a double with bacon, $22), a veggie ($15), and even a hot dog ($13).
The most popular is the Smokehouse ($18), doused with bourbon barbecue sauce, smoked bacon, cheddar and caramelized onions. The whiskey gives the sauce a tangy, slightly spicy flavor that combines nicely with the smoky bacon and the sweetness of the onions, especially when washing it down with a sip of bourbon. The bun struggled to stand up to the meat though, so I resorted to eating it with a knife and fork because the sauce made it extra messy.
The Lux ($32) is the most elaborate (and expensive) of the bunch, a foie gras- and truffle-topped burger with bourbon caramelized onions and arugula. It is salty and rich enough that half a burger was satisfying. We ordered the meat rare after learning The Montage has an on-site butcher that grinds the meat in-house. And man, was the meat delicious.
Sides are separate at Burgers & Bourbon (yep, that $32 burger was just the burger) so we ordered the Trio of Fries & Sauces ($15) containing all three options of fries: rosemary sea salt, sweet potato, and truffle parmesan, along with three sauces: paprika ranch, fry sauce, and garlic aoili. I liked the variation of fries and sauces but the favorite was easily the sweet potato.
Other dishes at Burgers & Bourbon include chili with cornbread ($15), salads, filet mignon ($48), and salmon with tabouleh ($44); plus a plethora of shakes (available spiked!), a variety of floats, and ginormous chocolate cake that I only wished I had room for.
At the end, everything was good but it’s hard to overlook the price tag. I realize The Montage isn’t catering to locals and their out-of-town audience is likely not as concerned with that as I am. So for them, the view is spectacular, the service is outstanding, the whiskey selection is superb, and the burgers were great.
Go to Burgers & Bourbon for :: an impressive view and an excellent burger. Notes :: Open seven days a week, 3-10 pm. Valet parking is complementary with dinner.