By Michelle Auerbach

For Brian and Katy Vaughn, owners of two restaurants in Steamboat Springs, Colo., it’s all about family. Before settling for good in Steamboat Springs, where the couple met, the Southern-born Vaughns took a major detour back through the South, she to attend architecture school and he to work for the chef Norman Van Aken in Miami. When they wanted to settle down and raise a family, home turned out to be the mountains of Colorado.

LOW Country

Their first restaurant, Bistro C.V., is a high-end spot, sleek and modern. But something was missing. “We wanted a place that evoked the food and warmth and friendship of our Southern roots,” Ms. Vaughn said. “We missed the food from home and there was nowhere in Colorado to get it.”

Low Country Kitchen, their second venture, which opened last year, allowed Mr. Vaughn a place to experiment with Southern cuisine. “It’s the twists and plays on traditional ingredients with new modern techniques that I love,” he said. His meltingly tender ribs, for example, combine the best of Memphis dry rubs and Carolina-style spicy sauce.

Low Country Catfish & Shrimp Grits

During an early winter meal, I found other Southern comforts to celebrate, including the chicken and biscuits, as well as the grits. The chicken’s crisp skin melts into the pepper jelly, while the biscuits manage to have both heft and lightness. The grits, from Anson Mills and ground especially for Low, made my dining partner, a native Virginian, lift his eyebrows in surprise.

 

Low Country apple crisp

Cocktails, too, skew Southern: mint julep; peach sweet tea; sazarac. For the Orange Manhattan, bourbon is shipped as single barrels from Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky. Infused with orange and mixed with sweet vermouth and old-fashioned bitters, it is barrel-aged up to six weeks. What comes out is a nuanced cocktail with traces of wood and smoke.

With Ms. Vaughn’s cool and comforting décor and clever use of space, complete with aprons hanging on a rack by the bar, the tiny place feels more like a home kitchen than a restaurant — a tone echoed by a friendly staff that the Vaughns treat like cousins.

Ms. Vaughn said she knew they had succeeded in making a home at Low when

her parents arrived in Colorado, and, before even stowing their luggage at the

Vaughns’ home, they showed up at Low for a meal.

Low Country Kitchen, 435 Lincoln Avenue; 970-761-2693; lowrestaurant.com. Average meal for two, without drinks or tip, is $50.

 

Source: nytimes.com

 

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