Restaurant Reviews

Seafood heaven at Deer Valley

I rarely go to buffets, and this is the first time I’ve written about one — but this was an exceptional experience. Five nights a week, the Snow Park Lodge in Deer Valley opens its famous Seafood Buffet; simple, straight-forward and delicious.

Michael Aaron, his friend Giusseppe, and I drove up to Deer Valley last Saturday night and we were greeted by kind and down-home staff members. The setting is inside the spacious lodge where heavy timber and stone architecture prevails. The place is casual and it almost seems like as many local Park City dwellers go there as do skiers/tourists. The drill is simple: just walk up to one of the many stations, grab a plate and start piling it on!

I started at the fresh crab and shrimp table which is a huge, round station mounded with ice and heavily stacked with King Crab, legs in one area, claws in another and adjacent to the crab are piles and piles of freshly cooked, skin-on shrimp — they’re quite large — I’d say about 20 to 25 count per pound. Every possible condiment is available: cocktail sauce, lemons, drawn butter, horse radish, etc. At the same station there is a beautiful salad bar boasting four premixed salads: Ceasar, Iceberg wedge, spinach and Italian Anti-pasti — they all looked delicious and fresh and then there is the array of inviting and expensive toppings.

Next to the seafood/salad station, a really good-looking sushi bar is set up with a lot of different California rolls and a few types of sashimi. On the other side of the seafood display there is a station heaped with ice where an attendant busily shucks oysters and places them on the ice — both the sushi and the oysters are accompanied with all the appropriate condiments.

If you’re not into seafood, there are a lot of other options. I stopped at the carving station where a beautifully cooked prime rib was looming and there was gorgeous little, fat, duck breasts that look like small roasts. The cook elegantly carves the meat for you and then there is an array of sauces, starch and veggies to choose from. I had some red-skin mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, acorn squash and I had the white chocolate sauce on the duck — the mushroom sauce was excellent — I didn’t much care for the white chocolate sauce.

At another hot station, cafeteria-style, the cooks were serving other cooked fish — some I had never heard of, with another section of starches and veggies, nicely prepared. I tried a fish delicacy from Hawaii, which was tasty but a little dry.

At the end of the journey, you’re confronted with an ominous dessert bar with dozens of choices: beautifully-made apple pastries, mousse cakes, lemon and fresh fruit tartlets, crèmes brulée; probably too many other choices. I thought the desserts were to die for!

In my collection of wine, I had a very nice bottle of Murphy-Goode ’05, Snake-Eyes Zinfandel. I took it to the buffet, and the second our waitress opened it, I knew we were in for a treat. This particular Zin was light and elegant, which I prefer over the jammy ones, and the pepper was persistent both on the attack and the finish. The buffet had several places where breads, rolls and cheeses were available, along with freshly smoked salmon — the Snake Eyes Zin was a treat with all of the above. (Zinfandel is an excellent choice to take to a buffet because it pairs well with many foods, and can withstand the mood swings of sweetened and spiced foods.)

The Seafood Buffet at Snow Park in Deer Valley is well worth the trek up the canyon and the relaxed atmosphere and enormous variety and quality merit an 89 rating.

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