Dinner among the Legends (sponsored)
Step back in time at this classic fine dining restaurant in Breckenridge
In a town like Breckenridge with such a rich history, Alan Bullock knew he could create a space for fine dining that celebrates Colorado legends and evokes a sense of nostalgia.
“The idea is to recreate what you’d expect from a classic restaurant in a big city like Chicago or New York,” says Bullock, owner of Legends Steaks & Italian in Breckenridge.
When you walk into Legends, its atmosphere immediately creates that feeling of timelessness and tradition. Bullock says his team isn’t concerned about setting new dining trends or fussing around with molecular gastronomy. At Legends, the menu remains classic and approachable while the pictures of Butch Cassidy and Doc Holliday that adorn the walls transport diners to another era.
Bullock says many diners still appreciate a menu they can read and understand. With that in mind, he also wanted to offer Breckenridge diners the best quality steaks anywhere in town. That’s why Legends serves USDA Prime beef.
“Prime steak is like the Rolls Royce or Bentley of steak. A lot of steakhouses sell USDA Choice, which is more like your Cadillac or Mercedes,” he says. “Choice isn’t bad, but Prime is on another level.”
USDA Prime is the most tender steak you can buy — only about 4 to 5 percent, give or take each year, of beef in the United States gets a Prime rating. Legends serves several cuts, including New York strip, filet mignon and ribeyes — including the impressive 38-ounce Tomahawk chop — and classic steakhouse a la carte sides.
“You can come in for one of the best steaks in Breckenridge, or you can come in and get house-made meatballs made with steak trimmings of Kobe beef, pork and veal for $21,” Bullock says.
On the Italian side, look for staples such as francaise, florentine, marsala, scampi and gnocchi. With housemade sauces, fresh seafood flown in daily, and the freshest ingredients available, these are classic Italian dishes with high-end, gourmet flair. Fresh, high-quality ingredients really form the basis of Italian cooking, says Legends General Manager Kris Kumar.
“We’re making sure our house marinara would be approved by every Italian grandmother,” he quips.
The restaurant changes the menu several times per year to keep in line with the freshest ingredients of the season and also gets its beef from various sources throughout the year, Kumar says.
The Happy Hour menu features a robust selection of appetizers — truffle fries, bruschetta, calamari, mussels, grilled oysters, Prime beef sliders and more — mostly in the $10 range. Happy hour also features $6 wines by the glass and $8 cocktails
“Our mussels are phenomenal — people just rave about our mussels,” says Anthony Simon, assistant general manager and beverage director at Legends. “I’ve seen couples come in and each get an order because they don’t want to share them.”
Bullock says Legends’ decor is the result of thoughtful research both online and with the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance (the local historical society). He was able to reprint some of the historical photos for the restaurant, for which he made sure to include only people with specific ties to Colorado or to Breckenridge. The notorious bank robber Butch Cassidy, for example, lived in Telluride, while the infamous gambler and gunfighter Doc Holliday spent his final years in Glenwood Springs.
The classic feel in the restaurant with the decor, ambiance, lighting also translates to an unrushed dining experience with great service, Kumar says.
“Breckenridge is evolving into this quick, rushed-pace town, but we want to take people back in time,” Kumar says. “We have professionals working here that aren’t just turning guests in and out.”
Legends boasts a healthy selection of “Prohibition-era” cocktails, which means cocktails with minimal mixers.
“My favorite is the Vieux Carre, with rye whiskey, cognac, Carpano Antica, Benedictine and two kinds of bitters. No mixer goes into that, but it has a great balance,” Simon says. “Yes, it’s boozy, but it’s enjoyable and you can sip on it.”
Legends also offers a healthy mix of cocktails for those seeking a less boozy taste. Some drinks are more fruit-forward, while others have various twists that the bartending staff have created.
“Our styles of cocktails come from our tenure as bartenders,” Simon says. “We have a collective group of 40 years of bartending experience on our bar staff.”
That experience not only makes for an exciting lineup of inventive drinks — there are 20 specialty cocktails on the menu alone — but it also means a lot of wine and beer knowledge, too.
Simon is proud to say that the wine list offers a lot of bang for your buck. He has some classic heavy hitter wines that pair well with Legends’ high quality steaks, but there are plenty of moderately priced options, too.
“We’re always happy to help guide our customers to find what they want,” he says.
What’s a Prohibition-Era Cocktail?
During Prohibition, which lasted from 1920 to 1933, cocktail mixers were not readily available and certainly not mass-produced. That meant that many cocktails during the time period were made up mostly of spirits. In other words, they were boozy. Here are a few of the Prohibition-era cocktails at Legends Steaks & Italian in Breckenridge.
CORPSE REVIVER #2 • Tanqueray Gin, Lillet Blanc, Cointreau, absinthe rinse, lemon juice
NEGRONI • Tanqueray Gin, Campari, Carpano Antica
VIEUX CARRE • Rye Whiskey, Cognac, Carpano Antica, Benedictine, Angostura bitters, Peychauds bitters
SOUTHRIDGE SIDECAR • Cognac, Cointreau, lemon juice
AVIATION • Pickney Bend Gin, Creme de Violette, Leopold Bros Maraschino liqueur, lemon juice
LEGENDS OLD FASHION • Old Forester 86, citrus bitters, Toschi candied black cherries and Toschi orange peel
Legends Steaks & Italian, 215 S. Ridge St. Breckenridge, (970) 423-6913, http://www.legendsbreckenridge.com
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