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Colorado’s high-country chefs finally embrace Asian cuisine. Colorado ski towns are loaded with restaurants where elk steaks reign supreme and the bison burger is a menu staple. Lucky for snow lovers looking for less game and more spice, the past several years have seen a quiet culinary revolution. Across the high country, Asian eateries have opened as alternatives to the hearty icons; diners now choose sake over wine and order pad thai instead of sirloin. Here, eight destinations sure to invigorate your alpine dinner plans.
Casual and friendly, Hooked is a welcome addition to the often stuffy Beaver Creek restaurant scene. The specialty sushi rolls are always solid choices, but opt instead for the tender calamari and the “u-call-it” menu: You choose both the fish and its preparation (we like the flash-fried and sweet miso versions). 122 The Plaza, Beaver Creek, 970-949-4321, hookedbc.com
Mountain Flying Fish
Locals flock to this laid-back Breckenridge gem for well-executed dragon rolls and fresh-from-the-sea nigiri and sashimi. Located on the south side of town, Mountain Flying Fish has a no-reservations policy, so arrive early—or prepare for a wait. 500 S. Main St., Breckenridge, 970-453-1502, mtflyingfish.com
This outpost from famed sushi chef Nobu Matsuhisa isn’t as new as the Vail location (in fact, the restaurant opened 17 years ago), but it set the standard for big-city Asian fine dining in ski country. Make a reservation (or sit at the bar) to splurge on classics such as the broiled black cod with miso, the lobster tacos, and fresh sashimi. 303 E. Main St., Aspen, 970-544-6628, matsuhisaaspen.com
Ignore the somewhat cheesy decor and focus on what Sumatera does best: Pacific Rim food with a penchant for heat. Singapore noodles and a range of different curries can be ordered on a one-to-five spice level, but beware: A five will have you sweating at the table. 1104 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs, 970-879-2929
Ryce Asian Bistro
Large portions and plenty of spice are the highlights at Ryce, a family-owned eatery located on Elk Avenue. Whether you dine in or carry out, you can’t go wrong with classics like the drunken noodles or Mongolian beef. 120 Elk Ave., Crested Butte, 970-349-9888, ryceasianbistro.com
Siam isn’t just one of our favorite restaurants in Telluride; it’s one of our top Asian fusion and Thai spots in the entire state. We prefer the jam-packed location in town (there’s also Siam’s Talay Grille in Mountain Village) for excellent hand rolls—try the seared yellow fin—and soul-warming entrées such as the braised short ribs. 200 S. Davis St., Telluride, 970-728-6886
This sushi joint in the heart of Vail Village delivers traditional Japanese cuisine, house-made soy sauce, and pristine fish. Try the omakase, a chef’s-choice tasting menu, and enjoy the ride. 100 E. Meadow Drive, Vail, 970-476-0977, osakivail.com
Located on the second floor of an unassuming building near the Dillon Reservoir, Cafe ProFusion is a tiny gluten-free haven that lives up to its slogan: a “gourmet hole-in-the-wall.” The small, ever-changing menu champions delicious vegan salads and well-spiced house-made curries. 119 La Bonte St., Dillon, 970-513-8336, cafeprofusion.com