Cuisine: Tapas/Small Plates , Comfort Food , Mexican
Menu: View the Menu
I've never been big on skiing, was only in a lodge once, and have never been to Aspen. But that all changed with just one visit to Aspen, a cozy lodge-like restaurant on West 22nd Street. All of the sudden I'm looking to ski the slopes and hunt big game. Well, maybe not that far, but I am impressed.Review By: Sam Sayegh
Just five days after Aspen opened its doors, it feels like its been here forever. The staff is cool and collected and the space is simply wonderful. Barn wood lines the walls, there are candles everywhere and above the bar are three illuminated deer heads, not the stuffed kind thank goodness. But there is some game on the menu. First, a bit more about the restaurant. When I looked inside, my first impression was that I was entering some swanky night club, but there's no red velvet to be found. What you will find is a large lounge area with cushy banquettes and candlelit tables. A hopping bar draws a Wall Street type crowd and there's a DJ on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. But, itís the back room that's truly special. The dining area is beautiful with glass encased pillars, a fireplace in the center where you can warm up (once they get their permit) and birch trees behind glass doors line the walls. It really does give the impression of being in a lodge.
I spent my visit at the bar chatting with a couple who, believe it or not, was visiting from Aspen and was drawn in by the name of the place. They seemed equally impressed.
The food at Aspen is small plates or tapas and the combinations are quite intriguing. There are Bison Sliders ($12) with smoked cheddar and bacon, Tangy BBQ Chicken Lollipops ($9), pieces of chicken breast in a tamarind sauce wrapped around stalks of lemon grass, Tuna Tartare ($13) with avocado and brioche toast points and Polenta Fries ($9) served with a chunky gorgonzola sauce. I tried the Grilled Jalapeno Elk Sausage ($11), served on a bed of apple sauerkraut , topped with peppercorns and a dollop of mustard seeds. The sausage was much leaner than I expected and not gamey at all. The jalapenos give it a kick, but not too spicy. It was amazing. I also tried the Pan-Fried Brook Trout Tacos ($12). They are delicious. You get two, but I couldíve eaten four all by myself. Trout filets with a crisp corn meal crust are topped with a tomato salsa and fresh cole slaw. Another winning combo. Best of all it's not boring.
And neither is Aspen. I felt right at home here. I think you will too!
Neighborhood: Flatiron District
Entree Price: $10-15
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