Meet LMR’s new chef and indulge in ‘mouth-amusing’ fare

Story and Photos by Abbie Digel Explorebigsky.com Editor

With a new chef and new infrastructure in the kitchen, the Lone Mountain Ranch dining room and saloon have a fresh face, as well as a new menu.

The ranch has long been known for its popular sleigh ride dinners, where guests ride a draft horse-drawn sleigh and eat prime rib and other homemade Montana fare in a woodsy cabin. For diners not up for braving the cold, it also offers fine dining from chef Bill Baskin in its main lodge, or for a more low-key affair, the saloon.

A short walk from the gear shop, the dining lodge has a rustic cabin feel, with a warm fire and a bison mount keeping watch. The ranch’s top-notch hospitality is put to the test with its foodie-inspired menu. Servers guide guests through selections like parmesan budino (a savory, cheesy custard, topped with arugula and balsamic glaze), and amuse-bouche, a bite-sized meant to whet the palate, selected by chef Baskin.

Meaning ‘mouth-amuser’ in French, the amusebouche is a single bite sample to get the palate excited. One night it could be a dainty rye bread topped with beet crisp, horseradish and smoked steelhead roe or perhaps fried cheese curd with smoked apple butter and upland cress.

Don’t overlook the soups on the starter menu, which are made and poured at the table. Ask f or
the cauliflower soup; a bowl of pureed caulk-flower, green apple, golden raisins and capers, finished with curried brown butter.

Baskin first learned to cook at Lone Mountain Ranch in the late nineties under previous owner
Bob Schapp. Baskin met his wife there, and they took off traveling around the country, where he
worked under Dallas chef and restaurant franchiser Stephan Pyles. Most recently, he was the opening Executive Chef for Red Stag Supper Club in Minneapolis. Baskin returned to Big Sky this fall.

“My wife and I couldn’t get Montana off the brain.”

And now with more than a decade of culinary experience under his belt, Baskin has created an irresistible menu. Sous chef Jonathan de Wolf, fresh from San Francisco, is also “a huge contributor to the menu,” Baskin said, expressing appreciation to have “someone of his caliber on the team.”

Because guests at the ranch usually stay for a week, Baskin changes the menu daily, depending on which ingredients are available. In mid-January, citrus was all over the menu. Some of his team in the kitchen even noted they hadn’t seen it used as much as he is using it right now.

Try the Madison Valley trout, from Trout Culture in Virginia City, which raises a variety of trout species in multiple fisheries in the Madison, Ruby and Paradise Valleys. It’s served with grilled, roasted potatoes and black truffle vinaigrette. The palate-cleansing orange with vanilla ice cream, drizzled with olive oil is also a standout.

Other citrus treats include a blood orange crème brûlée with tarragon, pomegranate and chocolate
hazelnut daquois, and warm apple tart with buttermilk ice cream.

The dining room and saloon has one sous chef, four cooks, and a trained wait staff, all of whom specialize in hospitality. Add this to an ever-changing menu that guarantees creative freshness, and you create a gourmet Big Sky experience.

Call (406) 995-2782 for reservations in the dining room or saloon, and for weekly specials. Full bar
available. lonemountainranch.com