Friday, May 24, 2013

Aspen, Colorado Restaurants: Matsuhisa, Hickory House, Casa Tua, Mezzaluna, Ajax Tavern


Matsuhisa is another branch of the chain of restos (Nobu, et. al.) established by Nobu Matsuhisa. This first meal was an omikase meal by special arrangements with the chef. Overall, considering the location, the fish was quite fresh and apparently, is brought in daily.

Monkfish liver, japanese cucumber, ponzu sauce, spicy daikon and scallions.

Oshitash (spinach) salad, bluefin tuna, ginger flower with tosasu (soy/vinegar) sauce.

Crispy tai, seared foie gras, shiitake star mushroom, ponzu sauce, shiso sauce, saki, mirin glazed snow peas and shiso.

Japanese snail (hime sazae) with spicy garlic sauce.

Seared duck breast with foie gras fat, black oregon truffles (which, remarkably, were almost as intense in flavour and aroma as perigourdine blacks!!!), enoki mushrooms, crispy leaks and balsamic teryaki sauce.

Sushi: tai, toro, kampachi, wild saba, needlefish, unagi all accompanied by fresh wasabi.

Miso soup with clam shimeji.

Santa Barbara uni.

Scallop, cevice style.

Tuna tartar with fried rice.

Mini molten dark chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.

Shaved ice accompanied by strawberry and tai tea.

Tai tea and strawberry flavours added to the shaved ice.

Mochi in flavours of green tea, strawberry and vanilla.

Matsuhisa #2

Shisito peppers.

Salmon kelp rolls.

Japanese eggplant with miso sauce.

Fried soft shelled crab....wonderfully crunchy, with spicy garlic sauce.

Uni sushi and sashimi, toro sashimi, salmon sushi, salmon roe sushi and salmon skin hand roll.

Tempura of scallop, onion, okra, oyster and Japanese eggplant. The tempura was not as crispy as I prefer and a touch greasy.


Spaghettini, perfectly cooked, with fresh tomatoes, sweet basil, shallots garlic and olive oil. This was the most enjoyable dish of this meal.

English pea ravioli with a rich mushroom broth, wild mushrooms and goat cheese. A good dish.

Pizza topped with Italian sausage, herb oil, roasted sweet red peppers, mushrooms, scallions and mozzarella cheese. Good thin, crispy crust pizza dough.

Linguini carbonara with pancetta, engish peas, cream, parmesan cheese and egg yolk. The pasta was undercooked and frankly, the sauce was lacking a well integrated, harmonious flavour. I had one forkful of this dish and yet, the wait staff took it away without asking me if I had a problem with the dish.

Hickory House

Very good, well seasoned, crispy onion rings, the best dish that I experienced here. Skip the dipping sauce.

Both pulled pork and ribs were just adequate. The ribs were a big disappointment considering the advertised hype.

The sausage and beef brisket. Both were just adequate.

Casa Tua

Burrata with heirloom tomatoes and basil.

House made fettucini with mixed wild mushrooms, parmigiano fonduta and sliced black truffle. A delicious dish.

Ravioli stuffed with sweet peonia red onion, prociutto tosini and parmigiano reggiano.

Agnolotti del plin filled with braised veal served with truffle butter and topped with sliced black truffles. A rich tasting sauce that well complemented the delicate ravioli.

Tagliatelli with a well flavoured, long simmered bolognese sauce.

Whole Dover sole, perfectly cooked a la mugnaia.

Casa Tua apple strudle.

Carrot cake with ginger ice cream. Just ok.

Chocolate banana tart with caramelized banana ice cream.

Ajax Tavern

Our pit stop after a day of skiing, was the Ajax tavern at the base of Aspen Mountain, right by the gondola, for their wonderfully addictive truffle french fries topped with grated parmesan cheese, at $17.00 a pop!

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