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June 13, 2012

Chefs Club Restaurant Opens in Aspen

By Andrew Sessa | Food

Chefs Club Restaurant Opens in Aspen
Jason Dewey

Aspen’s annual Food & Wine Classic (June 15–17) celebrates 30 years this weekend, but some of the biggest buzz has centered on the arrival of Chefs Club, the restaurant opening June 14 at the newly renovated St. Regis Aspen Resort. The Classic—a three-day festival of food, drink and chefs produced by Food & Wine magazine—is giving Chefs Table a permanent roost of sorts in the mountains with a debut menu created by four winners of the Food & Wine Best New Chefs Award, and new offerings coming every six months by a new quartet of past winners.

This first menu features signature and seasonal dishes by James Lewis of Bettola in Birmingham, Alabama; George Mendes of Manhattan’s Aldea; Alex Seidel of Fruition Restaurant in Denver; and Sue Zemanick of Gautreau’s Restaurant in New Orleans. The concept allows intrepid diners to design their own tasting menus. Sample from the Big Easy (Zemanick’s citrus-poached shrimp) to the Big Apple (Mendes’ hand-cut duck-fat French fries) or from Birmingham (rabbit terrine and liver mousse by Bettola) to Denver (Colorado lamb saddle with ricotta gnocchi by Seidel).

The cocktails at Chefs Club are courtesy of Jim Meehan, proprietor of the classic-cocktail bar PDT in Manhattan and a Food & Wine contributing editor. Meehan created a ten-drink lineup featuring playfully named potables that are heavy on both historic inspiration and contemporary twists. The Forest Through the Trees, for instance, is an everyday Vodka Collins hit with a bracing dose of French Green Chartreuse and a rosemary garnish. Meehan’s recipes also dig into Aspen’s local bounty. Rocky Mountain Blackberry Liqueur—an offering by Leopold Bros., a small-batch distillery in Denver—finds its way into the Back Country Bramble (a classic London cocktail), while Leopold’s Rocky Mountain Peach Flavored Whiskey stars in the Colorado Comfort, a delicious sour. 315 E. Dean St.; 970-429-9581; chefsclubaspen.com.

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