My family and I love Aspen and travel there frequently. There are dozens, if not hundreds of ski towns and resorts across the United States but only one Aspen. It is a magical place that offers an inimitable combination of great skiing, excellent shopping and a score of outstanding restaurants. There’s just something totally fabulous in the atmosphere there! That’s exactly why I’ve decided to dedicate the next string of my posts in the Food & Fashion section of my blog to our favorite places in Aspen. Be on the look out for them and enjoy!
Restaurant: Nello Alpine
Cuisine: Swiss Alpine Chic
Executive chef/Restaurateur: Nello Balan
Location: Base of Aspen Mountain
Just like in fashion where some people religiously follow their favorite designers from one fashion house to the other, trusting them with their new choices and creativity, passionate foodies and restaurant goers tend to follow their favorite chefs or restaurateurs to their new ventures. My husband and I are like that. Gary has known Nello for almost a decade now and his fashionable restaurant on Madison Avenue in Manhattan was one of the first places where he took me for dinner when we were dating.
Nello’s outpost in Aspen is a newcomer in town with a promising future of high-end, festive après-ski, lunch or dinner experience. The interior filled with bespoke furniture made of wood and leather looks as expensive as it probably was to built. It is bright, chic, stylish and also warm, a combination that is sought but not easily achieved.
Original artwork appropriate for the scene adorns the walls. Intricate chandeliers, a light and airy interpretation of deer antlers, provide the intimate lighting and also serve as an art installation.
It would be a disservice to Nello’s team if I didn’t mention the exceptional service they provide to their clients. The first time we stopped at Nello Alpine was on Christmas Eve which was also the first day they opened. The service was excellent and the staff performed very admirably. Kudos to them!
At the time of this photo shoot the restaurant overall was even better, the team well coordinated and one can see that they’ve been honing their skills over the last three months. Chef was very open to listening to my comments and input on the dishes I’ve sampled and I respected that. I’m certain that within the next few months Nello Alpine will further improve and take their rightful place among the best Aspen restaurants.
Gorgeous lobster salad with thinly sliced endive, artichoke, avocado & basil chiffonade.
Fresh, light, this salad is exactly what ladies want for lunch.
Raw, thinly shaved artichoke hearts with parmesan, avocado & white truffle oil.
The truffled pizza is soooo aromatic, you’re practically ensconced in waives of rich truffle fragrance as soon it is brought out of the kitchen!
Having a slice of that phenomenal pizza at the bar- I just can’t leave it alone!
The menu features soups, pastas & pizza with truffle shavings! I had a simple fettucine with mushrooms & generous amount of white truffles shaved on top served in a beautiful porcelain Le creuset bowl!
Few sips in between the courses!
Crispy dusk roasted whole then served as a duck leg and breast, sliced thinly. Served along side sautéed sauerkraut. A true Alpine experience, must try!
Osso Bucco al Bosco with veal shank, polenta & mountain mushrooms is absolutely stunning! Soft, fall-of-the-bone hearty main course.
And now featuring my husband’s favorite, a man’s treat after a day of skiing! Prime veal chop, served simple with arugula & cherry tomato salad!
The restaurant has an expansive outdoor seating area facing the Aspen gondola and there is also a view up the slope, which is exciting.
One of the coolest features is the gigantic bar that spans almost the entire width of the space outside as well as on the inside. It is instantly inviting and we love sitting there for lunch or just to hang out for après skiing. We’ve been told that there are nights when guests dance on it a-la best St. Tropez tradition. It really does remind one of an upscale European ski resort somewhere in St. Moritz or Zermatt.
Nello definitely has what it takes to create an uber cool place. With that acumen, he injected his new restaurant with the “cool gene” and almost overnight- it became a trendy spot in a gorgeous setting where beautiful people like to gather for drinks, music and food. A place to see and be seen and there is nothing wrong with that – at times we all want some of that celebrity glamour, Alpine or any kind.
LOOK: Extravagant, over-the-top. Dressed to the nines in a funky Dsquared2 dress from the local high-end store Performance Ski, one of my “must” stops when in Aspen. My look channeled a modern Bavarian princess with over-the-knee Moncler socks and Rag & Bone suede ankle boots. Thats one of the things I like about Nello, you can show up dressed super chic or right off the slopes in your ski outfit. Their welcoming sunlit patio is perfect to have your favorite drink and/or eat while listening to cool selection of tunes, played by Nello’s right hand man Blake (seen in the photos wearing a purple cashmere sweater).
Photographed by Michele Cardamone.