Table Scraps 

Barbecue taken to new heights

No restaurant in Whistler wields better views. Sure it’s got a bit of an advantage standing at a 6,000-foot elevation with a gondola carrying visitors up. Just taking in the mountainscape wrapping around the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain is worth the price of a $22 adult ticket for their Saturday evening summertime barbecue.

Once my skis are stored away in the spring, I usually cohort with other masses in the sky, bidding Whistler Mountain adieu until the first snowfall. But despite a somewhat cloudy day, I was reminded of how beautiful the views on the mountain were as the gondola made its way up to the Roundhouse.

The birds-eye view of the village, surrounding lakes and neighbourhoods; the climbing forests, craggy rock and far-off snowcapped mountains – the latter keeping my date and I company for the duration of our dining experience.

And it is an experience, with a patio extending into nature and spectacular views, a local musician – Gordo – strumming out acoustic favourites and a barbecue buffet that later left me wishing I opted for a pair of jeans with stretch.

There was a bit of a fresh-tracks-breakfast feel with diners retreating from sporadic showers on the patio to the inside cafeteria seating.

It was hard to find a seat – the place was packed – and after biting into the potato salad and baking-powder biscuit, you could see why.

I realize these are all sides, but to me the maple-infused baked beans, still-crisp corn on the cob and spicy fried potatoes were all worth two trips to the buffet. The barbecue chicken breast was moist and smoky, but the pork brisket a little too fatty for my rarely-eat-red-meat tastes.

Barbecue fans can rest easy; the brisket recipe was concocted by award-winning barbecue chef Bob Haselbach, who smokes the meat for at least six hours with a secret rub. He won the B.C. Barbecue Championships in Vancouver earlier this year.

Even minus the brisket, both of us were grateful for the lineup for desserts, giving us time to digest the incredibly fresh and tasty dinner – I should have showed restraint and missed the last round of biscuit and beans. I couldn’t resist, everything just screamed summer and a red-checkered-table-cloth picnic.

I couldn’t believe it, but my friend polished off an entire piece of mile-high apple pie while I indulged in the homemade ice cream sandwiches: two thick chocolate cookies squeezing in on vanilla ice cream.

The showers ceased long enough to take our dessert out onto the patio. Gordo’s guitar fell into the background while we chatted and watched a bride and groom pose for pictures. On the other side of the building, a wedding reception toasted the newly weds.

Barbecue on one side, wedding on the other. Both memorable experiences romanced by the best views in town.

Zagat Survey says

The Four Season’s Fifty Two 80 Bistro took home bragging rights in three of the four Zagat restaurant survey categories for Whistler this year.

The Bistro, where "elegance is in vogue at this resort jewel", took top honours in food for its "first-class, sophisticated" Pacific Northwest fare, first in décor for its "slick" and "contemporary" look, and first in service for its "typically superior Four Seasons" staff.

If you haven’t visited before, the Tuesday Seafood Barbecue is the perfect introduction, boasting everything from top steaks to lobster tails and prawns with a variety of salads, hot entrees and desserts – don’t miss the to-die-for seafood chowder – and all for $53. It’s getting popular, so call 604-966-5280 for reservations.

The Rim Rock Café also ranked high: voted second in the Most Popular, Top Food and Top Service categories. The "relaxing sojourn from the busy (village) scene" was praised for having "unsurpassed" Pacific Northwest "seafood and wild game specialties" that "never fail to impress."

The Keg Steakhouse was voted most popular, with Araxi, La Rúa and Trattoria/Umberto placing runner up in many of the categories.

Visit zagat.com for the full survey breakdown.

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