We ended up at Eight K by luck, really. The waitress we’d had the previous evening at Montagna, was very informative and an obvious insider on the Aspen dining scene. While she agreed Montagna was wonderful she struggled to send us elsewhere in Aspen. But she did mention Eight K in Snowmass at the Viceroy.
Full disclosure – her boyfriend is the chef at Eight K, so no wonder she loves his food, right? We decided to give it a try our last night in Aspen. It was no easy feat as Snowmass is a good 20 minutes by car and we were carless. We were able to persuade some of the bellman to give us a ride and off we went into the night. Supposedly the drive to Snowmass is beautiful during the day, but at night you really can't see a thing.
The Viceroy was pretty busy but still felt a little dead considering this is the busiest time of year. The dining room was beautiful. Long high tables line the left wall as you enter and seem to have a communal format for a more casual dinner. The spacing of the tables gives it a little too much of a "hotel" vibe and not enough of the "fantastic" restaurant vibe. It kind of felt like everyone there was staying at the Viceroy and not that the restaurant was a destination of it's own.
Anyway, onto the food. The waitress from Montagna pretty much guaranteed a stellar meal, so my expectations were quite high going in. Again we received warm pretzel bread. Love that they do so much pretzel bread in the mountains. It’s such an easy and obvious way to win people over, really. We also had some great, strong cocktails – the uva bella with gin and grapes.
We started with the bbq shrimp and grits with poached eggs as well as the roasted beets with horseradish cream, chevre and green beans. The shrimp and grits were really unique. They were also excellent. They were spicy, creamy and rich. Definitely a hail to Creole food with 18th century slow roasted corn grits and wild sonora coast shrimp. I'd love to have this dish again, right now actually, even though they aren't the most aesthetically appealing.
The beets were fine but the menu boasted a horseradish cream that I could barely taste and a maple mustard vinaigrette that was also difficult to pinpoint. They just didn’t excite me. They were prepared well, and the there was a nice contrast of textures with the crunchy walnuts and creamy cheese but I would not order this again.
Entrees were the two knockouts. I ordered the scallops with parsnip puree, a quail egg and boudin noir (black blood sausage). This dish was AWESOME. The scallops were perfectly seared and tender. The boudin nouir, which at first thought could overwhelm the scallops, was a great accompaniment, and one of the best boudin noir’s I’ve ever had.
We also had the veal cheek lasagna with oven dried tomato and black pepper mascarpone. This too was wonderful. The veal was incredibly tender and paired so well with the tomatoes and cheese. I wish there were a little less meat and a little more of the pasta, but nevertheless it was a great dish.
For dessert we had the chocolate peanut butter mousse cake with candied pretzels and salted caramel sauce. Wow this was incredibile!! I wish I had acess to something this yummy in LA...actually no, I don't. I'd get fat, for sure. It was huge and we finished the entire thing. We paired it with cinnamon ice cream and also tried the toffee pudding. The pudding was good as well but just didn’t hold a candle to chocolate and peanut butter. Didn’t stand a fighting chance.
Food wise, this was the number one meal we had in Aspen. A little annoying that it’s at Snowmass as opposed to in Aspen, but I’d make it a point to go there again.
Eight K Viceroy Snowmass (970) 923-8000