When planning your dinners out in Aspen, sushi is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. I’ll admit that out here in Colorado we’re pretty landlocked. But Aspen attracts some of the world’s best music acts, artists, comics, and writers, so why not bring in the best food? Sushi at Aspen’s top restaurants is flown in fresh daily and is prepared by top chefs in the field. Here is where to get the best sushi in Aspen.
Nobu Matsuhisa is widely regarded as the gold standard of sushi chefs. Nobu’s eponymous outpost in Aspen is called Matsuhisa. Located in a tiny blue Victorian house on the corner of Main Street and Monarch, Matsuhisa Aspen is more than meets the eye. The ground floor of the restaurant features its bar menu and a small sushi bar. There’s also highly sought-after outdoor seating in the summer months. Proceed downstairs, and guests will find a second bar, a huge sushi bar, and enough seating for close to two hundred guests. The scale is both impressive and surprising given the diminutive exterior of the restaurant itself.
Space aside, Matsu (as locals call it) is regarded as a bucket list destination for Aspen diners. Most locals and regular guests can give an extensive list of their favorite staples from the menu. Mine include Rock Shrimp Tempura with Butter Ponzu, Nobu Crispy Rice with Tuna, and Yellowtail Tataki with Yuzu Miso. If you’re really looking to treat yourself, go for the Omakase tasting menu; it’s one of the two best meals I’ve ever had at a restaurant.
As much as I love Matsu, Kenichi is still my favorite restaurant in Aspen. The staff there is some of the best, and I love the warm, welcoming atmosphere. Their food is also top notch, and the private Tatami Rooms are the best place on the planet to celebrate a birthday. The rooms come with smartphone hook ups so that you can DJ your party, and the sliding doors provide plenty of privacy when knocking back Sake Bombs.
Like Matsu, I have plenty of go-to menu items at Kenichi. I always start with a Sake Martini as well as the Yellowtail Serrano, a house specialty. The Blake Roll is another favorite; it has special meaning because it was created by a sushi chef, Blake Davidson a beloved local skier who lost his life on Snowmass Mountain in 2006.
The newest kid on the block in the Aspen sushi scene is Maru. Maru took over the space that was home to Takah Sushi for many years. Maru is owned by longtime locals and has a fun, young vibe. The outdoor seating on Aspen’s walking mall makes Maru the perfect spot for people watching. It’s also adjacent to Wagner Park and the park’s playground, making it a great choice for families with kids who want to play while the parents relax with a glass of sake or tall Sapporo.
Heading to town to enjoy the best sushi in Aspen? Stay at the Limelight hotel in downtown Aspen and be within walking distance to the above restaurants.