Downstream Flow: Main Street Carbondale welcomes 3 new restaurants | AspenTimes.com

Downstream Flow: Main Street Carbondale welcomes 3 new restaurants

by Amanda Rae
Food Matters

CARBONDALE is jamming this summer, and just in time for the 47th annual Mountain Fair, which settles into Sopris Park on July 27-29.

Coinciding with this weekend, which Carbondale Arts event organizers estimate might draw as many as 18,000 visitors over three days, is a trio of restaurant openings, all conveniently located on Main Street. While only one spot was serving food before press time, I toured each to get the scoop:

IZAKAYA CARBONDALE

225 Main St., Carbondale

Dinner at 5 p.m.

Opened: July 6

Chefs in charge: Kenichi master sushi chef Kiyomi Sano (27 years and counting), plus Aspen restaurant support staff

FKA Location: Russets, closed in 2013

Backstory: A reunion among Chef B-Love (Brian Hartman), Chef Pablo (Paul Goodman), and co-manager Eliot Poirier, who worked together 10 years ago in Telluride and dispersed across the country before returning to Carbondale

Namesake: Izakaya = a Japanese pub serving homestyle small plates

Style Profile: "Seasonal, simple, sublime"

Star Dishes: Karaage (tamari-ginger marinated, extra-crispy fried chicken); pork "wings" with pok-pok slaw, pickled fresno peppers, fried garlic; pork belly buns; seasonal Japanese curry and fried rice; miso soup and tonkotsu ramen; kushiyaki skewers; togarashi fries; Kenichi sashimi classics (torched salmon, blue cheese tuna, yellowtail Serrano) plus rolled sushi. In fact, "We're adding another sushi chef station—people love sushi," says owner Brent Reed.

Lovely Libations: Ask certified sake sommelier and bar manager Eliot Poirier….

Hot Spots: Perhaps the most aesthetically "Colorado" restaurant on Main Street currently—rough-hewn reclaimed barn wood, cowboy style—juxtaposed with ebony minimalist accents. Private tatami room echoes Kenichi, and nooks aplenty include a front lounge, sake bar and lounge, elevated booths and semi-private table, and seven-seat sushi bar with three booths.

Tasty Tidbit: "I've been studying," Sano says of returning to his roots in Japanese cuisine. "(Knowledge) is a ninja weapon."

THE WAY HOME

689 Main St., Carbondale

Dinner begins Aug. 7

Opening Lawn Party: Friday, July 27. A $20 weekend wristband includes drinks, barbecue, and acoustic music on the lawn until late.

Chefs in charge: Flip Wise, former executive chef of Free Range Kitchen & Wine Bar in Basalt, and Lacy Hughes, chef-owner of SILO

FKA Location: six89, closed in October 2012

Backstory: Fifth-generation Carbondale native Kade Gianinetti returned from Denver (where he partnered in The Way Back and American Grind, among others) to resurrect the 1913 Victorian building.Hughes worked at six89 for its final five years with chef-owner Mark Fischer, later at Town; Wise drove 30-ish hours straight from New York in 2009 to six89 for a childhood friend's rehearsal dinner.

"Six89 made Carbondale a culinary destination back then," Hughes says. "We want to create our own culture while still taking some of that legacy. You feel that when you walk into the space."

Namesake: "No matter where you go, there's always a place for you: Home," Wise says. "An authentic experience…conjuring comfort."

Style Profile: American farmhouse, inspired by Northern Italy and showcasing area producers. "The local farmers and ranchers—they're our friends," Wise says. "Lacy and I get to showcase (that through) food."

Star Dishes: Sharable small plates; raw bar; fresh pasta, possibly oxtail agnolotti (half portions available); whole or half roasted chicken; whole salt-crusted fish; simple desserts such as pie, cake, panna cotta; "really good coffee," Wise says.

Lovely Libations: No frills, no fuss: four kegged cocktails on tap; a few simple crafted drinks; local brews from Roaring Fork Beer Co., Casey Brewing and Blending, Aspen Brewing Co; "thoughtful" wine list.

Hot Spots: "We restored (the building); it has that cozy feel of separate rooms," Hughes says. "In the age of these big, open, warehouse-style restaurants, it's not that. We renovated the front into a lounge with a couch and club chairs by a fireplace—it's like hanging out in your living room." Upstairs, two modern guest rooms welcome overnight stays.

Tasty Tidbit: "Lacy used to say that Mark Fischer had this thing called 'random acts of cooking'…we might do 'baller boards,' or a smorgasbord for five to six people to share," Wise says.

ROOSTERS

348 Main St., Carbondale

Breakfast at 8 a.m., brunch daily 10 a.m. to 2p.m, dinner at 5 p.m.

Opening: Friday or Saturday, with liquor license, bar menu, patio seating to start

Chefs in charge: Chef Kyle Raymond, formerly of Grey Lady Aspen and Caribou Club; Mladen Todorovic, former co-owner of Aspen Over Easy; Pawel Osiak, longtime sushi chef at Takah Sushi and Sake in Snowmass Village

FKA Location: Town, closed in October 2017

Backstory: Fischer closed Town abruptly, reportedly due to rent increase, the same month that Todorovic shuttered Aspen Over Easy when that building sold to the Hillstone Group nextdoor. A new landlord makes Roosters possible.

Namesake: "Rising with the roosters for morning breakfast; roosters on the rotisserie; the three of us cocks here struttin' around—(the name) fell into place," Raymond says.

Style Profile: "Eclectic Americana"

Star Dishes: Full and half rotisserie chicken with seasonal vegetable sides; prime rib; porchetta Benedict; marinated meat shawarma on salad or pita; spinach crêpes and cut crêpe-"fettucine" noodles caprese; 'chicken and the egg' deviled eggs with cracklins

Lovely Libations: Bloody marys with pickled veg; juices and smoothies à la Over Easy

Hot Spots: The team spent four days stripping gray paint from the floor to reveal stunning white oak floorboards, calling in pros to finish the job. "This is such a heritage building, with exposed brick, so you can keep it natural," Raymond says. Hostess stand and molding accents are all reclaimed barn wood; a 17-foot single-slab wooden community table sits in the front room.

Tasty Tidbit: Sous chef Pete Mullery worked with Mike Beary at Zocalito in Aspen, "so his chile pepper knowledge is great. Absolutely, we're gonna do our own hot sauce, house rubs, dry rub on chicken wings," Raymond says.

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Wow, time flies! This is Amanda Rae's column #225. amandaraewashere@gmail.com