Tabernash Tavern: Something for everyone |

Tabernash Tavern: Something for everyone

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

Buzz about the new restaurant in “downtown” Tabernash has a lot more people stopping in the small town along U.S. Highway 40 these days.

The Tabernash Tavern opened its doors June 30 and by day four, Maura McKnight said, the business run by her husband David and Jonathan Larson had doubled its staff.

Larson said they are welcoming up to 150 customers each evening and that they are getting close to requiring reservations ” as of Monday, reservations were “highly recommended.”

“Both Dave and I believed Tabernash deserved a great restaurant,” Larson said. “We expected a good, strong two-to-three days,” ” a “honeymoon period.” But the establishment’s popularity hasn’t waned.

Chef Alberto Sapien has once again outdone himself with a transitional menu as adaptive as its creator. Raised and trained in international styles, Chef Sapien has served at the helm of (in order) Devil’s Thumb Ranch for a year, The Shed for eight years (winning many a Chef’s Cup), and at the Untamed Steakhouse in Winter Park for the past four years.

With what he’s learned from his travels and through the study of those some-day destinations in his future, he has taken a step away from a lot of the Southwestern food he’s widely known for. Eager to help Larson and McNight design their visionary tour-through-the-world tavern, the team “pained over the selection” of beer and wine alone. They have six specialty beers not found elsewhere in the county, as well as four domestics, and a reasonably priced wine list that spotlights a South American Malbec Bordeaux blend.

On the pub menu, top sellers have been the vodka martini mussels, crab cakes, salmon tartar, Kurobuta pork belly and white anchovies; from the dinner menu, top sellers have been the asparagus strudel with goat cheese and truffles, pork souvlaki with tzaziki sauce, and the steaks ” especially the au poivre with cognac cream sauce.

Sapien’s is an elaborate menu that he plans to change regularly, The menu is expected to change each week and he has four-to-five changes daily.

“I’m going to have a new restaurant every week if you think about it,” he said.

Upcoming specials include a Nancy Waltz Fantasia Pasta with chicken, walnuts, grapes and gorgonzola in honor of the long-time Fraser Valley resident and Last Waltz restaurant owner. After all, two of her former cooks are now behind the line with him.

From things as simple as the homemade old-style ketchup to the complexity of the creme brulee du jour, everything is made fresh to order, Chef Sapien said.

“There’s something here for everybody,” wrote Chef Michael “Mick” Angelo Rosacci of Tony’s Market in a letter to the new restaurant after stopping by. “If you don’t find your old favorite dish here you’ll probably find your new favorite.” He said the tavern was the “culinary highlight to our trip to (the) Grande Valley.”