Big-Ticket Bites

Eat and Drink Like a Trust Funder at These Aspen Hot Spots

Decadent dishes, VIP cocktails, and haute on-mountain meals to try.

By Daliah Singer December 16, 2019 Published in the Holiday 2019–2020 issue of Aspen Sojourner

Wagyu beef by the ounce at Matsuhisa 

Though its head-turning Aspen nachos (potato chips with caviar and accoutrements) have left the menu, 7908 will offer a traditional caviar service with blinis, chives, pickled shallot, and eggs from December through early February ($120 for 30 grams). 

The Little Nell’s subterranean wine cellar, the Red Light Lounge, easily impresses with its 20,000 or so bottles of vino (the oldest one dates back to circa 1860). Dine among them by organizing a private dinner in the space for up to six people (starting at $1,000 per person). But first consult with Executive Chef Matt Zubrod and Wine Director Chris Dunaway on a customized menu. Then toast with a bottle of the hotel’s private-label Champagne, René Geoffroy “Expression” Brut ($125), made from grapes grown in the esteemed Cumières and Hautvillers villages in France. 

Enjoying Matsuhisa’s by-the-ounce Wagyu beef requires a bit of DIY in addition to coin. The meat—A5 Miyazaki—arrives at the table raw ($40 per ounce), to be seared by you on a hot rock. Swipe the succulent result through one of the three paired sauces: wasabi-pepper, truffled ponzu, and a scallion sweet ponzu. 

Up the ante for a casual lunch at Clark’s with the plateau de fruits de mer ($120), a towering display of prawns, oysters, lobster, and mussels escabeche. Bring a few hungry friends. 

At the Velvet Buck, inside the St. Regis, dinner is rooted in the Rocky Mountain region’s history. Eat like a (very well-off) pioneer with a 32-ounce prime beef tomahawk steak that’s cut and weighed for two people ($195). 

Betula, which earned a rep as one of Aspen’s best restaurants after opening last winter, brings a special taste of the coast to the mountains with its jumbo diver sea scallops tiradito ($96), which arrives with sea urchin uni and 10 grams of French golden Ossetra caviar. 


Elevated dining at Cloud Nine


Refuel Right

These mountain meals go way beyond burgers and fries. 


Escape to France without leaving Snowmass Base Village at the Crêpe Shack by Mawa’s Kitchen. You could go the classic route with a Nutella and banana-filled pancake, but we recommend indulging in the Aspenite ($125), stuffed with Maine smoked salmon, egg, dill cream sauce, and caviar shipped overnight from Paris. Meat eaters may prefer the Barcelona’s combination of Jamón Ibérico, aged fig-balsamic reduction, baby arugula, and Pecorino cheese ($58). Pair your pick with fresh-squeezed juice. 


One $2.5 million remodel later, the former BBQ spot at the top of Sam’s Knob at Snowmass has morphed into Sam’s, a modern Italian eatery with a decidedly upscale vibe. Against the ever-present Elk Mountains backdrop, dig into platters of burrata and cured meats, house-made pastas, and Sicilian-style pizzas during sit-down lunch service, perhaps accompanied by a bottle of Barbera. But first, swap out your ski boots for a cozy pair of slippers at the entrance. 


As it is, dinners at Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro—the midmountain restaurant at Aspen Highlands notorious for its Champagne-fueled afternoon dance parties—are pretty special: a snowcat brings you to this cozy former ski patrol cabin for a four-course meal by the wood-burning stove. Make the experience even more exceptional by reserving the restaurant for your own private cocktail or dinner party (nights other than Wednesday and Thursday; food and beverage minimum starts at $8,500), highlighted by alpine dishes like veal schnitzel, black truffle gnocchi, and, for dessert, strudel. 


Outrageous Après

Cheers to a solid day the hill with one of these extravagant tipples.

7908's Billionaire Vieux Carre

Billionaire Vieux Carre, $500

Show that you’ve indeed made it with this blend of 40- to 100-year-old Louis XIII cognac, Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve (15-year), Benedictine, and a regularly changing reserve vermouth. The cocktail arrives on a silver tray, in a 1930s Duncan and Miller glass, atop a $1 billion bill (of Zimbabwean currency).

Hikari sake, $670 for a 720-ml bottle; $70 per glass

Matsu’s most premium sake is this floral rice wine from Hokusetsu brewery in Japan, available exclusively at Matsuhisa and Nobu restaurants.

99 Bottles of Beer, $999
WET Deck, W Aspen

Après is better with friends—at least, that’s the thought behind this delivery of 99 bottles of Roadhouse Brewing Company beer to your crew at the W Aspen’s rooftop lounge and pool area. 

Bad Harriet's Velvet Horse

Velvet Horse, $150
Bad Harriet, Hotel Jerome

Guinness and Old Rip Van Winkle 10-year bourbon are layered in a Champagne flute, then topped with a Dom Pérignon float. (The mini saddle souvenir that arrives with the drink is yours to take home.)

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