Matsuhisa in Aspen Review, written by Jackie Mansfield:
I’ve dined at Matsuhisa in Aspen twice in the last month; both times as someone’s guest which is a good thing because unless you have the appetite of an ant and don’t drink, it’s hard to escape without paying around $100.00 per person.
That said and despite the current economy, the place is always busy and ten days ago, when this review was written, it was almost impossible to get a reservation – a testament to the greatness of the food.
Owned by world class restaurateur, Nobu Matsuhisa, you’d expect the standards to be extraordinarily high – and they are.
Sushi in Aspen:
There are numerous excellent sushi restaurants in the Roaring Fork Valley but none quite compare to Matsuhisa for overall creativity, presentation and quality of ingredients….and this will certainly cost you.
Failing to get a reservation in the restaurant recently, my friend and I ate upstairs in the bar. The bar at Matsuhisa is lively with kinder lighting than downstairs; along with sofas for lounging, bistro-style tables and of course, the sushi bar itself – two in fact. It also makes a wonderful setting for private events; I attended a party there a while back and the atmosphere was terrific, the food equally so.
Happily, they serve one of my favorite wines by the glass; ‘Cloudy Bay’, an excellent Sauvignon Blanc from NZ and hard to find for a one-glass lightweight like me.
The bar menu is almost identical to the main restaurant’s menu with a few exceptions; my favorite dish of ‘Broiled Black Cod with Miso’ aka heaven-on-a-plate, was only available in tiny, one-bite pieces, topped with a scattering of something crunchy on a small lettuce leaf – absolutely delicious but still, I longed for the full-sized dish but make no mistake, ordering that alone is never enough as it’s rather small.
In fact, all the specialty dishes are wonderful but smallish, which is why the bill ends up being quite the opposite.
Otherwise, the sushi and sashimi are as perfect as they are downstairs. I inhaled some of the freshest, sweetest Uni (sea urchin) that I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating – it tasted like the smell of a cool ocean breeze on a warm summer day.
Finally, I recommend saving room for dessert. The Bento Box is apparently wonderful but I’ve never been able to resist a full serving of Mochi ice cream; little nuggets of green tea, mango or coconut ice, each wrapped in a tender, chewy cloak of soft rice paste and easy to eat with your fingers. There’s something wonderfully chewing-gummy about the texture of Mochi; never too sweet and just the right size to pop in your mouth.
If you love sushi but dining at Matsuhisa isn’t in your everyday budget, then this is definitely the place for special occasions and I recommend you start saving now. I guarantee you’ll immediately want to start saving for another visit.
Jackie Mansfield is the author of Edibletcetera.com – a Blog for Busy Foodies, everywhere.