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Sync your iPhone with the speakers in Kenichi’s Rockstar Booth

FEATURES

Best Seat in the House

By Oliver Sharpe

Nell lobby photo by Holly Hunt | Kenichi photo by Shawn O’Connor

11.20.18

Dining is an experience, and these top tables practically guarantee a good time.

Aspen’s dining scene is epic. Reservations are made months in advance to experience food, wine and spirits, of course. But it’s about more than eating and drinking; who you see and who sees you is also of paramount importance. Optics are critical, and it’s not just which restaurants you frequent, but where you sit once you get there that matters. The following tables are the best seats in town, aside from first chair on a powder day, of course.

Raphael Derly sought to recreate the authentic Alpine experiences of his youth spent in the Swiss ski town of Villars-sur-Ollon at Creperie du Village (400 E. Hopkins Ave.). He succeeded in bringing a taste of the Alps to Aspen with not only the mountain fare, but also the cozy ambiance that is imparted naturally by the restaurant’s size and subterranean location. The center-of-room communal table promotes group sharing—try the raclette followed by any of the sweet crepes—as well as recounting your day on the slopes with the others at your table.

In Aspen, different clientele prefer varying levels of visibility and Cache Cache (205 S. Mill St.) offers a table for every occasion, according to partner and General Manager Jodi Larner. For celebs keeping a low profile, there is Table 50, which is tucked into the back left corner, away from prying eyes. Jack Nicholson’s table, Table 10, occupies the opposite corner and provides a panoramic view of the entire dining room—one that the smiling actor notoriously loves to take in. Affectionately referred to by some patrons as the stop sign, Table 32 seats larger parties front and center. It’s the most social seat in the house, as it welcomes interactions with friends as they enter the room, but beware of talking too much, chef de cuisine Nate King’s seasonally inspired creations require your full attention.

The Little Nell’s lobby seating is some of the best in the house.

7908 (415 E. Hyman Ave.) may be new to town, but the supper club is already elevating Aspen’s nightlife, thanks to its unique combination of dining and dancing. Begin the night at one of the high-top tables, which offer the buzz of the bar and the service of the dining room. Master sommelier Jonathan Pullis will select the perfect white Burgundy to accompany the Aspen Nachos, which are casually served with Imperial Osetra caviar, before taking the short walk to the dance floor to bounce on a banquette with resident DJ Bryan Normand.

Lounging at the Living Room Bar at The Little Nell (675 E. Durant Ave.) is just like hanging out at home, if your home happens to boast a 20,000-bottle wine cellar, an eternally enthusiastic wine director with an encyclopedic knowledge of producers, and additional staff to deliver snacks and keep the fire roaring. Not so much? Well then cozy up on the couches below the windows for a wagyu burger with duck fat fries from Element 47 while master sommelier Carlton McCoy decants a bottle of La Romanée-Conti for your party. Speaking of parties, the unmarked door to your left offers side access to Chair 9’s daily après extravaganza.

The communal table at La Creperie du Village also means it’s easier to share group plates like raclette and fondue.

If you are looking to party privately, draw the curtains on one of Kenichi’s “Rockstar Booths” (533 E. Hopkins Ave.) to take your evening to 11. Master sushi chef Kiyomi Sano will keep the specialty rolls rocking—opt for the Blake and the Dynamo—and the extensive sake list will keep your hideaway well-lubricated. It’s easy to get very comfortable behind the velvet (the booths even have their own speaker system so you can plug in your Spotify playlist); don’t forget that the veil will be lifted eventually and you’ll have to rejoin the general public.

For a truly private experience, The Club at Casa Tua (403 S. Galena St.) offers members a sleek sanctuary in the center of town. Owner Miky Grendene promotes a “home away from home” ethos and the second-floor space is warm, welcoming and well-appointed with rotating works from world-class artists. The tables actually transform from lounge-height to dinner-height and back again, so your party can enjoy an aperitif, a northern Italian-inspired meal and after-dinner cocktails all in the same spot. Grendene greets guests from his family’s table, center-right as you enter the room. Try and score a corner spot to the left with balcony access and Aspen Mountain views.