Review: Roundhouse Restaurant, Ketchum / Sun Valley Idaho
I took my wife to Sun Valley Idaho for our anniversary this year. If you’ve never been there, Sun Valley is a quaint little mountain ski resort town situated in the Sawtooth National Forest of South Central Idaho about 2.5 hours away from Boise. Sun Valley mostly just consists of the Sun Valley Lodge, golf course, and a few houses. The real town is Ketchum, and the two towns blend into one. Despite the small population of only a few thousand, Sun Valley/Ketchum is one crazy money trap. Tourists, celebrities, and the extremely wealthy make Sun Valley a favorite destination spot. The amount of wealth seen there is a bit sickening, and I think anyone other than Bill Gates may leave feeling like their earnings are completely insignificant. But despite the money-pride aspect of Sun Valley, you’ll leave glad you visited, and will be filled with some memories to put a smile on your face later.
For our weekend celebration, we cruised up in the morning, enjoying some good music on the stereo, laughter and stories, and views of sage brush and high valley fields. And though a person can fly right into Sun Valley (and from all the private jets lined up at the small airport, I’d say plenty do), for us, the drive was just part of our anniversary time together.
Sun Valley/ Ketchum Gondola Rides
Upon pulling into Ketchum, we didn’t waste any time and went straight to the base of Bald Mountain to ride the gondolas. These things were great! $20 per person, and worth every penny.
They were not nearly as exciting as the gondola ride in Langkawi Malaysia, but were fun regardless. Sadie had never been on a gondola before, so was a bit nervous. But she loved every 10 minutes of it and was all smiles.
The gondolas take you about 2/3 of the way up Bald Mountain, and just ever so conveniently end right at the Roundhouse Restaurant. The restaurant is situated on a knoll, and overlooks the valley below. The views alone make this restaurant a 5-star destination, but fortunately for food snobs like me, they serve up a tasty menu too.
Incredible Views at Roundhouse Restaurant in Ketchum Idaho
Never before have I eaten at a place so “up in the clouds” as Roundhouse. Absolutely awesome! I can only imagine how beautiful things would be with snow on those mountain peaks!
Roundhouse Restaurant Buffalo Burger Review
Typically at places with such amazing views, the food is usually sub-par. Apparently not so at Roundhouse. The old men that took our gondola tickets down in the valley recommended the buffalo burger. They claimed it was exceptional, and the menu description alluded that they may be correct. “Organic bison, mixed with garlic, onion, dijon and rosemary: grilled to order, topped with white cheddar, horseradish sauce and tomatoes, challah bun.” Now how could that be bad? The restaurant was a little disorganized in that you were first seated at your table but then had to leave your table to walk over to the patio grill to place your order. We did so, were given a number, and went back to our table, only to find that another party was taking it. Our waitress was kind enough to relocate them to the next table over, and they were rather snooty about it. Oh well. No one’s going to ruin my burger experience at the top of the world.
The burger came out a few minutes later and was presented in front of me in all its glory, drizzled with a dijon aoili and served with a side of house-made potato chips. Beautiful.
The chips were extremely crunchy, had a good flavor, and were a perfect accompaniment. But the burger was the real star. I was excited to dive in!
Mmmm! That first bite was fantastic. The old dudes didn’t lie, this was a tasty burger. I ordered mine medium well to keep the burger juicy, and the chefs delivered. The flavors were great, but needed more salt and pepper. I sprinkled some on the burger and then things were perfect. Was it worth the $16 price? Normally I would say not a chance. $10-12 for sure, but $16′s a bit steep. But when you factor in the unique experience of the view, $16 seems just about right. This is an experience that is hard to beat!
Salmon Burger at Roundhouse Restaurant Review
The old guys told us that they had heard good things about the salmon burger, but hadn’t tried it themselves. They need to repent and sink their teeth into this beast! The menu read, “fresh king salmon, red onion, oregano vinaigrette, baby greens, challah bun, arugula.” What it didn’t say was, “best piece of salmon this side of Seattle!” The quality of this fish was exceptional, and it was perfectly cooked with black grill lines and a just-barely-rare-inside middle. So juicy! So delicious!
Just like the buffalo, the salmon was under-seasoned, but some added salt and pepper fixed that right away. The oregano vinaigrette was a nice addition, though it did seem to make the arugula and bottom bun a bit soggy. We ordered salad instead of chips with the salmon burger, and chose the orange citrus vinaigrette with it. That vinaigrette was probably the best orange vinaigrette I’ve ever tasted, and when drizzled on the salmon, took the salmon burger to an entirely new height of taste pleasure. Make damn sure you ask for a side of citrus vinaigrette when ordering this burger!!! $15 for this burger, with that view……what a steal!
Incredible Water at Roundhouse Restaurant
It seems a bit silly to comment about the tap water in a restaurant review, but Roundhouse’s water was just too amazing not to mention. They get the water straight out of Bald Mountain from a well that God only knows is how deep into the heart of the earth. It is pumped up into a small reservoir that you can see further up the side of the mountain. This stuff was better than any bottled water you could ever hope to buy. Please please PLEASE do yourself a favor and don’t order some shitty soda while at Roundhouse. Stick to the tap water and find out for yourself just how good water really can be. No lemons either!
Sky Lift to the Top of Bald Mountain
With our bellies full and our love rekindled, we took the ski lift the rest of the way up the mountain. There are hiking and biking trails everywhere up there, but we took the short jaunt up to the top lookout point. Everything was just so beautiful! I only wish it would have been winter to enjoy celestial white instead of Idaho brown. But regardless, what a wonderful view. Wildflowers were everywhere, and we walked hand in hand like a couple of love birds through the air.
We sat up at the top for a long while, taking in the views and reminiscing about our past year of married life. We’ve had some pretty awesome times together, and decided that marriage is wonderful. Bring on the next 40 years! After getting all mushy, we headed back to the lifts to go back to the valley floor below.
Imagine our surprise when we got to our car to find a $400,000 Lamborghini parked next to us! What a beautiful piece of machinery, but what a stupid waste for Idaho. Where will you ever get to drive this thing the way it’s meant to be driven?
As silly as the Lamborghini was, we passed 2 Porche 918 Spyder’s ($1 Million each), and 4 Bugatti’s ($2 Million each) as we drove to our hotel. What the hell? There’s that Sun Valley money-pride thing I mentioned earlier. Oh well, the extravagant car show was a bonus perk of our wonderful weekend together, which started out right with a romantic gondola ride and some tasty burgers at the top of the Idaho world.
The Bald Gourmet stays in Sun Valley Idaho and eats at Roundhouse Restaurant on Bald Mountain.
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