Westbank Grill in Jackson Hole

Huckleberry Heaven

Dimly lit, the Westbank Grill at the Jackson Hole Four Seasons has a timeless feel. The warm polished wood of the vaulted ceiling and furniture is akin to that of a large wooden lodge. The granite stonework is suitably rugged and the leather seating warm and cozy.  Greeted with a beaming smile, we were escorted to a corner table with a view of the whole room and the impressive open log fire.

Soon enough Tall, Dark and Handsome – following recent developments now elevated to husband status – had an Old Timer in his grasp and was enjoying the blend of Bullet Rye, sweet vermouth and house-made huckleberry bitters. Who even knew that a huckleberry was a real thing – I was straight away mimicking the blue Hanna-Barbera dog with his Southern drawl; while TDH reminisced about time spent lazily floating down the Mississippi on a tented skiff, while paddle steamers fired their cannons in vain attempts to locate his corpse.

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Having recently spent time in Yellowstone National Park, it had become clear that some remote places in the USA struggle to find engaged and engaging staff. The mystery was soon solved as I realized that they are clearly all working at the Jackson Hole Four Seasons, as the staff were a delight.

We elected to romantically share two starters, and not only because it was our honeymoon! Marinated heirloom tomatoes with burrata, micro basil, focaccia crisps and aged balsamic jelly attracted us both, and not wrongly. The salad was beautiful to behold with an array of small tomatoes in shades of yellow, orange, red and deep purple.

We also plumped for a regional cheese and charcuterie platter consisting of a Humboldt Fog goats cheese, wild boar salami, buffalo jerky, duck prosciutto, elk sausage, seasonal mixed berry jam including huckleberries (yippee, the Bluetick Coonhound again!), maple candy chews, country olives and a wholegrain mustard.  Did I need to list out every ingredient?  Read it again.  I would say so.  Boar, buffalo, duck, elk and huckleberries – what’s not to like?

It all arrived on a shiny slate and the mystifying morsels of succulent goodness kept us intrigued, occupied and delighted for a surprising duration!  I won’t bore you with further detail but suffice it to say that my palate has rarely been more delightfully stimulated.  Oh, but even if your local butcher habitually trades in the somewhat exotic, don’t rush out to order elk sausage any time soon.

Having chewed through all this variously cured meat we were more than ready for, erm, more meat. Steak knives were delivered in a leather safety sleeve; presumably just in case we proved to be so woefully clumsy as to gore ourselves prior to the arrival of the steak itself. We both chose mains from the 1800-degree infrared grill (how could one not): a Guajillo-rubbed buffalo flank steak from the prairie harvest South Dakota for TDH, and a 12oz Wagyu New York Strip from Snake River Farms in Idaho, served up in a chimichurri sauce.

The buffalo turned out to be tough, and although well cooked perhaps wasn’t the ideal cut, or had simply had an uphill paper round. My Wagyu Strip, however, was superb; with a fantastic charcoaled outside. This animal had clearly lived a life of luxury, with daily massages and spa treatments, regular outings to sundry museums and national monuments, and a university-level education in Musical Performance and the Natural Sciences.

To accompany, we had smoky bacon and caramelized onion potato puree (which I didn’t like the sound of but thoroughly enjoyed); and sautéed power greens: a splendidly dark seaweedy mixture of kale, chard, and spinach topped with pistachios and maple five-spice. Each were served in tiny black cast iron skillets and looked really cute; and were of course vital supplements to the meagre rations that we had otherwise been served.

To cut through the meat, or at least try to, there was a pinot noir – SchugCarneros. Pale in colour with a light flavour, it had black cherry, blackcurrant and strawberry notes, followed by a rich, spicy texture and a long silky finish. To be recommended. 

For pudding (rude not to) the Cowboy Cookie was the obvious choice: freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie served in a warm skillet with homemade ice cream piled on top. Warm and tasty, it delighted the inner child in us (and more than satiated the very adult glutton).

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We made our way back to the room humming “Oh My Darling Clementine” (not the last of our heartfelt tributes to Huckleberry Hound) and eagerly anticipating the heavy featuring of Huckleberry jam come breakfast time.

Westbank Grill
7680 Granite Loop Road, P.O. Box 544
Teton Village
Wyoming 83025 U.S.A

BLACK BOOK QUARTERLY