Lucile’s Creole Cafe
7 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays
8 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekends
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. All week (Monday-Sunday)
2093 Curve Plaza
New Orleans may be miles away, but Lucile’s Restaurant brings the hearty, flavorful taste of that unique Southern city to Steamboat Springs.
One step inside the restaurant and you feel as if you are walking into a Southerner’s kitchen, where portions are big, ingredients are fresh, aromas are enticing and spices are skillfully used.
The restaurant has a newer, fresher look than the original Lucile’s in downtown Boulder, which was created 24 years ago and is run from a Victorian house.
Steamboat’s Lucile’s is one of four restaurants spawned by the original. It is locally owned and operated, and opened three years ago.
The restaurant is bright and cheerful, with warm yellow walls and large windows that offer plenty of sunlight and a good view of the ski mountain.
Tables are cozy and covered with a collection of Lucile’s homemade condiments, including strawberry rhubarb jam and apple butter, ketchup and hot sauce.
Behind an open counter that lets diners watch their food being prepared, the cook staff works diligently to provide upscale gourmet breakfasts or lunches for Lucile’s guests.
Breakfast is Lucile’s specialty and its variety of dishes gives diners a unique experience, owner Patrick Mueller said.
“It’s like no other breakfast you’ve ever had,” Mueller said.
Breakfast favorites include Eggs Pontchartrain, which is a fresh pan-fried mountain trout filet topped with poached eggs and a bearnaise sauce. The dish is named for a brackish lake north of New Orleans where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico.
Eggs New Orleans is another popular choice, and includes fried eggplant slice with Creole sauce, poached eggs and hollandaise. The hollandaise sauce is made fresh each morning with butter and egg yolks, and the Creole sauce adds a bit of spice to balance the richness of the hollandaise.
Cooking, Mueller says, is all about balancing tastes and flavors. Heat and spices are balanced by buttery, smooth, rich flavors. Sweetness adds another element to a dish, he said.
Cooking is also about taking care of the food from the minute it comes through the door, he said.
“Everything at Lucile’s is completely made from scratch and that’s why I enjoy working here,” Mueller said. “We take the extra time and care, and make sure everything is perfect.”
Pain Perdu is a New Orleans-style French toast served with fruit, an egg, a homemade buttery syrup and andouille sausage, which the restaurant makes itself with ground pork and a special blend of seasonings.
Each dish comes with a huge homemade biscuit that takes up a small plate by itself.
The biscuits are perfectly baked, with a crisp top and a warm, fluffy inside. Smeared with your choice of one of the restaurant’s specialty jams, there’s nothing better to wake up to.
The restaurant also offers more than 20 types of fresh-made pancakes. Blueberry buttermilk pancakes are offered every day, or a diner can choose from the day’s special creation, which has included bread pudding pancakes, pineapple upside-down pancakes, sour cream pancakes and Calas pancakes, which have a sweet Japanese rice and fluff up like a dessert.
Drinks are to be savored, whether a diner chooses a hot cup of Lucile’s special blend coffee with Chickory or a filling cup of hot chocolate made using melted blocks of specialty Belgian chocolate, fresh milk and a blend of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Orange juice, grapefruit juice and lemonade are squeezed daily by the wait staff.
The restaurant also offers a full bar that provides diners with screwdrivers and mimosas made with fresh squeezed orange juice, as well as their “soon-to-be-world-famous” Bloody Mary’s.
Lunch offers an opportunity to experience some of New Orleans’ best-known dishes, including a hearty and flavorful gumbo, with ingredients – turkey, oyster, sausage and chicken – that change daily.
The shrimp Creole is a red, tomato-and-vegetable based stew that cooks for about 14 hours to bring the different flavors out.
Crawfish Ãtouffee has a thick, brown gravy made from shrimp and lobster stock and a brown roux, that holds nuggets of crawfish tails. It’s topped with one whole steamed crawfish.
The Poor Boys are not classic New Orleans Po’ Boys, but rather have a mix of flavors and ingredients. The Cajun Turkey Club has turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato and a fresh sauce made with mayonnaise, fresh ground horseradish and cranberry sauce.
Come with a full appetite as portions are big and dishes are filling.
The meals offer both a good start to a long day of skiing or a nice break from a snowy day.
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It seems like the best celestial events too often happen in the wee hours of the morning, in the cold dead of winter.