The review. An in-depth analysis of new and existing restaurants in the Vail Valley.
On February 29, 2012 we tried. Matsuhisa in the Solaris Building in Vail.
My wife & I hoped to celebrate an anniversary at the new Matsuhisa here in Vail last night. The place has been open for several months so we assumed the shake out period had long passed.
Arriving at the opening hour of 6:00 the restaurant was pleasantly empty and quiet. We both ordered a glass of white wine to enjoy while scanning the menus. My chard. Was fine, Sue's pinot grigio was frigid as if it had just come out of a freezer.
Sue ordered the Omakase (tasting menu) ($100) and I the tempura combo plate ($30). After requesting a couple of different mild white wines for dinner which were out of stock, we finally settled on a simple Gruner Veltliner. Without going into more detail, let's just say the wait staff as a group was noticeably less than professional through the evening.
The anticipated edamame course never arrived, so we mentally wrote that off. Sue's tasting menu consisted of 10-12 smallish courses beginning with the lighter dishes and moving on to stronger flavored ones. The opening sashimi plate had a jalapeno atop the slices of fish apparently without the seeds having been removed since the pepper bite completely dominated the flavor of the raw fish. So much for that starter.
Shortly out came a very nice miso soup with a couple of squares of tofu inside. It was delicious – maybe the highlight of the meal – except possibly for a later arriving seared scallop.
About this time the restaurant had filled and was a cacophony of voices and piped in music. Almost impossible to carry on a conversation at our tiny table. Speaking which, tables here are jammed together to the point that a wait person or server cannot pass between them without bumping into one or the other of the diners. Very unpleasant that layout.
The small plates kept appearing with regularity, but we noticed there was very little change in the flavors of the sauces. And even more disturbing, the fish all appeared to be somewhat greasy in texture and certainly not particularly fresh.
In the middle of the session my $30 dollop of tempura arrived - the shrimp and vegies were tasty and perfectly cooked. The dipping sauce, however, was at best undistinguished and really just plain bland. By comparison our little neighborhood oriental cafe in nearby Glenwood Springs offers similarly decent tempura triple the plate size for half the price and with far better multiple dips. C'est la vie.
A later served lamb rib was overly fatty and not flavor-able at all. About the only reasonably tasty other plates were a blackened cod and the aforementioned scallop.
So what did we think of this $250 meal? Really not much positive at all. Neither of us would recommend the restaurant to friends or visitors to town, nor would we ever return. It was just another mediocre experience in overpriced dining – something I've unfortunately found plenty of here in Vail.
Reviewed by ORP on 3/1/2012
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