HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO (March 17, 2015) -- Some restaurants have great food, others have an excellent atmosphere and a few have a spectacular view. Windows Restaurant, which has opened at Wind Crest retirement community, hits a home run with all three, according to residents, staff, and public guests who feast on its fine cuisine.
The 80-seat, reservation-only restaurant serves a seasonal dinner menu with two daily chef specials. A wall of windows overlooks the Denver skyline and Rocky Mountain Foothills. Inside, modern light fixtures hang from a vaulted two-story ceiling.
Chef Ed Kent says patrons seem to linger, extending their dining experience to enjoy conversation with friends, the stunning view, and the spectacular food. "People seem to really enjoy the atmosphere," Kent says.
Kent, who worked closely with Dining Director Marcus Cordova and Wind Crest's team of chefs, designed the Windows menu from scratch. Kent pulled from his diverse experience in the restaurant industry using "what's worked for me in the past," he says.
The menu features classic American fare. Kent and his kitchen crew use the highest-quality fresh ingredients and local produce when available.
On the winter menu for example, the bianco pizza starter uses roasted garlic and olive oil with fresh tomatoes, baby spinach, and fresh mozzarella.
A caramelized peach entrée salad takes a sweeter spin on a lighter option with mixed field greens, spinach, dried cranberries, red onions, toasted pecans, crumbled gorgonzola, and of course caramelized peaches all tossed in a white balsamic vinaigrette.
As an entrée, Kent serves fresh Atlantic pan-seared salmon with a roasted red pepper coulis, Mediterranean relish, and couscous. One of the most popular entrées is the grilled filet mignon served with cremini mushrooms and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes.
Kent says he prefers braised meats for a homier menu in the fall and winter while utilizing the grill more in spring and summer for brighter, fresher flavors.
In addition to Kent's more modern creations, the seasonal menu—which changes quarterly—also features common comfort food like barbeque ribs, fried chicken, and a meatloaf blended with seasonings, bell peppers, and onions, topped with tomato sauce, and served with mashed potatoes and steamed fresh vegetables.
Windows serves special menus for holidays. For example, the recent Valentine's Day menu featured starters like crab cakes and beef carpaccio, fresh salads of mixed greens and homemade vinaigrettes, and choice of lobster bisque or pink cauliflower soup.
Mouthwatering entrées included melted short rib served with bacon-cheddar potato cake and grilled asparagus, maple-and-molasses-glazed seared diver scallops with Chardonnay beurre blanc and carrot whipped potatoes, and prime rib au jus served with baked potato and winter vegetables.
The special evening and carefully prepared foods were well received by people from all around the community.
"It's important to me that we build relationships with our residents. We're serving them every day and want them to feel comfortable with their dining experience," Kent says. "Food is a central part of anyone's enjoyment of their day and their life, and I'm passionate about making that a pleasurable experience and exceeding their expectations."
Kent says part of building relationships is also building trust. "I want them to feel comfortable telling me they'd like something on the menu, but it's a two-way street. I want our relationship to be one of trust so they'll try different things on the menu. That's why we have such a diverse menu—one that includes modern American fare as well as comfort food for those who are less adventurous."
Diners, according to Kent, can feel confident that Windows will attempt to accommodate tastes, aversions, or allergies. In fact, the menu itself uses icons for gluten free, vegetarian, spicy items, healthier choices, nuts, and "sweet smart" items.