Asian Cuisine Rocks

Full Circle

A band reunited is a beautiful thing.

By Amanda Rae July 1, 2015 Published in the Midsummer/Fall 2015 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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When a duo reconvenes in the very location of its first gig some two decades prior, now with a favorite new collaborator, and the trio goes so far as to buy the space? Sounds like a script ripe for Hollywood.

Yet Maru, opening in July in the former Takah Sushi space, is no side project for lifetime Aspen pals Taylor Hale and Jonathan Sundeen and comrade Peter Coyne. These culinary artists have trained to be the house band their entire careers: Hale as Kenichi sushi chef for fifteen years; Coyne at Kenichi in both Aspen and Kona, Hawaii, after having absorbed modern Japanese craft at Matsuhisa and French finesse at the U.K.’s the Fat Duck; and Sundeen at Thomas Keller’s La Bouchon and as owner of a French café in San Francisco. Naturally, maru is Japanese for “circle.”

Served lunch to dinner, Hale’s sushi masterpieces complement Coyne’s eclectic Asian cuisine: shabu shabu, local meats poached in tabletop hot pots of dashi, and specials made from a mystery box flown in fresh from the Sea of Japan. Plus, there’s a hit list of Japanese sake, shochu, and whiskey curated by former Matsu manager and now Maru sommelier Robbie Parker. No doubt, the restaurant seems primed for an extended jam.

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