Some restaurants boast oceanfront dining or city views, but only the Seven Glaciers Restaurant at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska, overlooks seven magnificent hanging glaciers. This top-of-the-world view can only be reached via Alyeska’s high-tech tram, a smooth, six minute ride up the mountain, the largest, continuous double black diamond run in North America. As the tram glides skyward above the 47 degree slope, it’s impossible to imagine skiers negotiating this nearly vertical Mt. Alyeska, but the resort, located only 27 miles from Anchorage, is the state’s favorite ski destination.
The tram doors open onto a platform with catch-your-breath views of the surrounding Chugach Mountains. We’ve risen from an elevation of 250 feet to 2,300 feet. From this mountain-top perch, Seven Glaciers is surrounded by nature from every direction. The restaurant is modern chic, with large windows that take advantage of the scenery. The long, sexy bar offers both a sweeping panorama of snowy mountains and artisan cocktails and we stop here for a quick cocktail before being escorted to our table.
Our table’s views, like those of every table in Seven Glaciers, are equally impressive, with large windows on two sides affording us looks at the tram, several glaciers, and impossibly majestic mountains that seem to go on forever. Too often, view restaurants rely on their beautiful location and offer only so-so food. Not so at Seven Glaciers. The menu matches the magnificent mountains surrounding us.
We tear our eyes from the mesmerizing views when the waiter arrives with a plate of ice-cold oysters on the half-shell seasoned with pink peppercorn mignotte that brings the perfect accent to the briny mollusks.
The restaurant has developed themed menus focused on seasonal ingredients and wine pairings to highlight featured items on the menu as well as popular multi-course wine dinners. The restaurant has earned the AAA Four-Star rating and Wine Spectator’s 2013 Best Award of Excellence.
Our next course is ceviche, a house signature, that’s made with uber-fresh Alaskan halibut and studded with kernels of corn that adds a lovely sweetness. The scallop bisque, another iconic Seven Glacier dish, is a delicately creamy soup that features seared scallops topped with good olive oil and slightly salty black caviar. Delicious!
The menu offers plenty of seasonal entree choices, including Alaskan Sable Fish, Snake River Farms Wagyu Filet and New York Steak, Dry Aged Pork Chop, and the nightly Chef’s Tasting Menu. However, it’s King salmon season in Alaska so that’s what all of us order. It’s seasoned with a firewood honey glaze and comes perfectly cooked to medium rare. The salmon is served with preserved lemon speatzel and corn that’s sweetly chewy and creamy English peas. A crisp white Conundrum Blend from California pairs beautifully with the food.
We’re completely sated, but our friend insists we order dessert and we’re glad she did. The signature Baked Alyeska is a fun twist on a classic dessert. It comes as trio of silky chocolate mousses covered in bittersweet ganache and Italian meringue. Our other dessert choice, the hands-down favorite, is a goat cheese cheesecake with caramelized onions, fresh compressed grapes, and balsamic reduction that’s accompanied by a savory tuile and a refreshing raspberry sorbet. While it sounds a little strange, this unusual and amazingly creative cheesecake put a delicious end to a special meal in a spectacular setting. – Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor, Photography Anne Weaver, RFT Editor