Jing owner Frank Lu travels to China two or three times a year to check out the newest culinary trends and import them back to Aspen.
“I want to see a lot of food,” said Lu, a native of Shanghai.
As evidence of his recent travels, Lu recently showed off his classic version of Peking Duck, one of the dishes on the menu of his longtime Asian-fusion restaurant on Main Street.
“Take a piece of (crispy duck) skin and dip it in the sugar,” Lu instructed, pointing to a tiny bowl of white sugar that was served along with the standard pancakes, scallions, cucumber and hoisin sauce “That’s the newest thing in China.”
The sugary-fatty-crispy flavor is unexpectedly delicious, reminiscent of brown-sugared bacon or other “meat candy” treats. The duck pancakes–or “tacos” as they’d be more apt to be called around here–follow it up with their own rich, classic Asian flavors.
Peking duck, however, is just one of many dishes on Jing’s large menu, which features dim sum, fresh oysters, caviar, sushi, small plates and numerous meat, seafood and vegetarian entrée options.
Without a doubt, one of the best of those options is the fresh whole fish of the day, which comes steamed with ginger soy or crispy with spicy ginger honey miso sauce. Lu recently showed off the crispy version prepared with Branzino, which he debones and filets before flash-frying. It is, in a word, spectacular. The wonderfully light, crispy sea bass pairs beautifully with the slightly spicy, sweet sauce in a winner of a dish that is a bit decadent and fun to share.
In addition to the regular menu, Lu is also offering a few specials at Jing this summer. Chief among them is the Szechuan lobster, which features a Maine lobster tail that is quickly blanched and sliced sashimi-style, then lightly seared in hot sesame oil. The tender lobster is served with ginger and scallions.
Small plate specials this summer will include a jumbo freshwater prawn served in a yellow curry coconut milk along with fennel, garlic, ginger, butter and lemon, as well as a fresh summer tomato stuffed with sautéed shitake, porcini and other mushrooms along with garlic, lemon and walnuts.
For a sushi roll special, Lu created a carb-free version made with strips of cucumber instead of rice and seaweed. The result is a fresh, light dish that pairs well with summer evenings and cold sake.
Price Range: $15-$100
Ambience: Upscale, casual
Signature dishes: Crispy whole Branzino, Peking Duck, sushi, dim sum and raw bar including oysters and caviar.