KENICHI – ASPEN
533 E. Hopkins Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
Date dined: 3.23.12
Kenichi is a contemporary Asian restaurant in the heart of tiny Aspen. They currently have four locations around the country but have been a mainstay in Colorado since 1991. With fresh seafood flown in daily the menu boasts a variety of sashimi and creative rolls as well as composed dishes created by executive chef Ed Schmidt.
Kenichi also offers a variety of dining experiences. In addition to sitting in the sceney main dining room you have the option to enjoy an omakase meal at the sushi bar courtesy of sushi master Kiyomi Sano or enjoy the privacy of the Tatami room with a group of friends which was what we decided to do. One of the benefits of the tatami room is that you have the ability to customize your own playlist by hooking your ipod up to the sound system. Always a bonus.
With a group of hungry boys we needed to order big. Here are most of the dishes we had.
Grilled shishito peppers. Average. These really had no seasoning and were pretty dry. Good thing we also had edamame with sea salt.
The yellowtail collar broiled and glazed in a soy mirin reduction was incredibly tender and flavorful though the presentation was sloppy. When we told the waiter we were interested in ordering one he literally leapt up and ran to the kitchen as he said they tend to run out quickly.
The dynamite shrimp is our host’s favorite dish which he orders religiously every time he goes to Kenichi. Sometimes a second order is necessary (this time we had 3). This is tempura fried tiger shrimp with masago, a special aioli and Kenichi teriyaki sauce. The tender shrimp is a little crispy and a little spicy- a great combination.
The blackened Hawiian ahi tuna in cajun spices was our waiter’s top recommendation. It is served very rare and sliced on top of avocado mixed with grain mustard. I thought this dish was fine and would satisfy any tuna lover – but a tuna lover I am not so I found it a bit bland despite the grill seasoning.
The miso glazed cod is usually a staple order. The fish was marinated for 72 hours in miso and broiled so that it was cooked through all the way and flaked into tender bite sized pieces.
The chicken skewers were ordered for our one non-fish eating friend (the horror!).
The ton gyoza was a really delightful dish of dumplings. Filled with broken arrow ranch wild boar these giant pot stickers were pan seared with dried cherry nimono and served with a salty dipping broth. Some of the best and most original pot stickers I have had.
Next was the yellowtail serrano which I thankfully split with just one other person because it was so delicious. A delicate dish of evenly sliced yellowtail in a pool of tangy basil vinaigrette and spicy serrano peppers. Melt in your mouth.
I also shared a plate of fresh sashimi and sushi.
Down at the other end of the table another two split the tuna tartare which was mixed with avocado and seasoned with sesame.
For the table we ordered a bunch of rolls to share but the one to note was the Blake roll – a combination of tempura shrimp, cucumber and avocado rolled inside out and topped with spicy tuna and a dash of eel sauce.
Whether you are in Aspen enjoying the incredible skiing in the winter and spring or the fresh air and greenery of the mountains in the summer and fall Kenichi is always the go-to for fresh and creative Japanese.
Also check out this post on www.Dwellable.com