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The lionfish at Grey Lady

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5 Local Spots to Indulge the Adventurous Part of Your Palate

By Hayden Gamble

Photography by Shawn O’Connor

02.06.18

Adventure into the depths of the valley’s culinary world where taste buds take one wild ride of flavor.

1. The lionfish consumes over 70 other fish species and is capable of eating prey up to half its body length—and it can be found right here in Aspen. Grey Lady is featuring a lionfish special this winter that’s fried, coated with sweet chili sauce and presented on a bed of pickled Asian vegetables. Grab a set of chopsticks and dig into this exotic and delectable dish that’s perfect for table sharing—and don’t let its appearance be a deterrent. Looks can be deceiving, but the taste leaves diners asking for more. 305 S. Mill St., 970.925.1797

2. Following the theme of the sea, The Little Nell’s Element 47 is serving up a shrimp miso soup garnished with a swirl of phytoplankton oil. Phytoplankton is loaded with life-promoting nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Noodles and nutrients? Yes, please. 675 E. Durant Ave., 970.920.6330

3. When looking for something more daring, head to Matsuhisa and order a round of the uni shooters. The uni—the edible part of a sea urchin—are served in a shot glass mixed with sake, ponzu, quail eggs and cucumber. 303 E. Main St., 970.544.6628

4. Soak up the shooters up with a hearty plate of crispy frog legs. Imported from various locations, Rustique Bistro’s buttermilk-marinated legs are fried and served alongside a lemon garlic cream sauce. 216 S. Monarch St., 970.920.2555

5. Or, head down valley to Carbondale’s Italian-European bistro, Allegria, and indulge in the restaurant’s beef cheeks. Sourced locally from Crystal River Meats, the cheeks are served on a bed of saffron risotto, spinach, candy beets and onion crisps. 355 Main St., 970.963.7316