I spent a few days in Aspen, and here's what I sampled. I rate the food on a scale of 1-5: 1 = bad, 2 = poor, 3 = OK, 4 = good, 4.5 = very good, and then it asymptotically approaches 5.0, which is a life-ending experience.
Elevation: crispy Duck Confit: 4, Wasabi Caesar with Salmon: 5.0.
Both items are on the cheap bar menu. The Duck confit was respectable, but the Wasabi Caesar was outstanding - better than any Caesar I've had, and it went perfect with the salmon, which was seared on the outside an raw on the inside. FYI: Elevation actually has a trademark on "Wasabi Caesar".
Matsuhisa: House special salmon: 3, House special whitetail: 2, Bento box dessert: 4.
The house special sushi consists of very thin strips of fish, each in a unique vinegar-like sauce. The Bento box dessert was overrated. It was good, but not "the best dessert in Aspen," like I was led to believe.
Jour De Fete: Croissant: 2.
Even fresh out of the oven, the croissant totally sucked.
Paradise Bakery: Croissant: 4.5.
Hot out of the oven, it's the best croissant I sampled in Aspen. Their muffins are also great.
Ink! Cafe: Glazed Donut: 4.5
If you are hankering for a donut, the glazed donuts at Ink! Cafe are light and fluffy.
Main Street Bakery & Cafe: Raisin french toast: 4.5
They use a heavy raisin bread. It's more like bread pudding french toast. It's slightly better than the raisin bread pudding at Wienerstube.
Sky Bar: Braised beef sliders: 4.7. crab stuffed carpacio: 3
These items are on the cheap bar menu. The braised beef sliders consist of 3 mini sandwiches, containing outstanding shredded beef that seemed to be braised in a Madeira sauce - outstanding. The stuffed carpacio was a little heavy on filler. The Sky Bar was completely crowded to the ceiling at 5 PM. Imagine how crowded it is at 7.
Montagna for breakfast: Lemon soufflé pancakes: 3.
With a name like "Lemon soufflé pancakes," I was preparing for a life-ending experience, but they were merely OK, and not really worth a trip.
Krabloonik for lunch: Caribou sausage: 4.
They have lots of game.
Syzygy: Crispy duck confit: 4.8, shrimp ragout: 4.7
These are on the cheap bar menu. The Crispy duck confit was very good, primarily because of the trimmings: a walnut stuffing, and maybe mashed potatoes. The shrimp ragout was covered with foamed up lobster emulsion.
Wienerstube: Raisin bread pudding: 4.
Similar to the raisin bread french toast at Main Street Bakery & Cafe, but at Wienerstube, it's very heavy, and covered in vanilla cream. Good and decadent.
Campo di Fiori: Tiramisu: 3, rigatoni with spicy sausage: 4.
Someone mentioned that the tiramisu is the best in Aspen, but I beg to differ. Their tiramisu did not measure up to the Tiramisu that one gets in North Beach in San Francisco. However, the pre-dinner bread that they bring is hot out of the oven and outstanding.
Jimmy's: muscles: 4, crab cake: 4.5, and volcano cake: 4.8.
The muscles are over-hyped. The crab cake is really good, since it has almost no filler. Jimmy's claims that the volcano cake won 1st place at the Aspen ChocolateFest, and I believe it. However, it's extremely dense, and can easily serve 4 people.
Cafe Suzanne, at the top of the Funnel lift at Snowmass: crêpes: 2, bread pudding with brandy sauce: 4.7.
The crepes are mushy and undercooked. But: The bread pudding is outstanding: the top is caramelized and chunky, and the brandy sauce is a winner.
The Big wrap: Pesto wrap: 2.
This place is located half a block from the Aspen Mountain lift. Don't get the pesto wrap: it's totally bland. Next time, I'm going to try the Thai wrap.
Piñons: Lobster strudel: 3. Blackened pork tenderloin: 3.
This place seemed *way* overpriced. They offer at $38 prix-fixe 3-course menu in the bar.