The Greenbriar Inn 4

A Boulder 
landmark since 1967

Choosing the perfect restaurant for Valentine’s Day can be stressful. You don’t want to take a chance on an untested new eatery, old standbys don’t seem special enough and anything too out there could throw your stomach for a loop – not so sexy. You’re looking for something classic yet stimulating, comfortable yet upscale. You’re looking for the Greenbriar Inn.

With its 20 acres of scenic, sprawling grounds and location just up the road from Boulder, Greenbriar is a destination restaurant. If you arrive before sunset, the grounds – complete with ponds, gardens and even a waterfall – are worth exploring. But even if Mother Nature isn’t cooperating, the restaurant itself is impressive.

The large, wood-paneled dining room epitomizes sophistication, and the servers that move through the room are clad in vests and ties. Although the main room is incredibly spacious (as well as the attached, closed-in patio), it still feels cozy. In Boulder we’re so accustomed to going anywhere in jeans and sandals, but this is a great opportunity to dress up. Or not. It’s that kind of comfortable.

Having won the Wine Spectator award of excellence for the last 18 years, you’re bound to find something you like on the novella-sized wine list. Or, try something a little spicier in the form of the mango habanero margarita ($12), a strong, tart concoction of infused tequila, house-made triple sec and lime juice with an ancho chili and salt rim.

The menu is filled with polished, meat-centric dishes. Appetizers include special occasion favorites like escargot en croûte ($12), a trio of pâté ($14) and steak tartare for two ($19), prepared tableside. Or, go for that ultimate aphrodisiac – oysters ($4 each).

On the lighter side, the goat cheese and three beet salad ($10) is a fresh blend of spinach and arugula topped with a champagne vinaigrette. Entrees are predominantly based around high-quality meats, with roasted duck breast ($29), beef wellington ($40) and sous-vide salmon Oscar ($28) making appearances.

The roasted Colorado rack of lamb ($38) was a standout, probably because the lamb comes from a farm just five miles down the road. Hearty and savory, you’ll want to scoop up as much of the accompanying jus as possible.

Another favorite is the seared diver sea scallops ($36). Three luscious scallops sit atop horseradish whipped potatoes, while citrus and capers add tartness and keep the dish from becoming too heavy.

With eight options, dessert isn’t an oversight. The choices change regularly, but the molten lava chocolate cake with hazelnut ice cream, cranberries, persimmon and port chutney is perfect for chocoholics.

While dinner is a romantic experience, the Greenbriar also offers a perfect morning after Sunday brunch, with a buffet of oysters, made-to-order omelets, carving stations and more.

Skip the stress this year and live up to even the highest expectations with a night full of old-school glamour and elegance. What’s sexier than that?