A Taste of the Sea

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Seafood-savvy chefs share the best locales to find the ocean’s freshest harvest this season.

By Ashley Schaefer

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Nothing complements a warm summer day quite like a succulent lemon-squeezed scallop or a tart and tangy ceviche. For those in search of the summer sea’s sweetest bounty, however, it’s important to be aware of what seafood is in season within each region. Sleepy seaside wharf towns and bustling waterfront cities alike rejoice in the offerings from their region’s waters. Whether it’s Alaskan salmon and Chesapeake Bay blue crab or Spanish prawns and Japanese freshwater eel, seafood takes a starring role on plates around the globe during the summer months.

Aspen’s Mountain-Fresh Seafood

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This hip brasserie features sustainable seafood, soaring mountain views and great people-watching opportunities. Head to the marble bar for caviar, prawns, crabs and hand-shucked oysters paired with top-shelf vodka, Champagne or an obscure Old World glass of wine.

Chef Barclay Dodge’s Spanish influences shine in dishes like the grilled octopus topped with potato salad, olive tapenade and smoked pimenta chili sauce, or the calamari bolognese served with squid ink pasta, tapenade and orange gremolata. (970-920-9775; pacificaaspen.com)

Matsuhisa Aspen

Featuring an inventive menu of fusion cuisine, Matsuhisa Aspen combines South American ingredients with traditional Japanese dishes. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa first introduced the Matsuhisa concept in 1987 at his original Los Angeles location, which is now co-owned with actor Robert De Niro.

Sushi as an art form takes precedence at the first-come, first serve sushi bar. Head sushi chef Philip Tanaka ships exotic fish from all over the world daily for creations like the yellowtail sashimi with fresh jalapenos and spicy tuna rolls. The cooked dishes that put chef Matsuhisa on the culinary map, like the miso black cod and rock tempura shrimp with spicy butter sauce, are also favorites among Aspen locals.  (970-544-6628; matsuhisaaspen.com)

Chefs Club by Food and Wine

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Miso black cod at Matsuhisa Aspen

At The St. Regis Aspen Resort, Chefs Club by FOOD & WINE brings the glorious cuisine found on the pages of Food & Wine magazine to life. Each year, Food & Wine selects a handful of Best New Chef award-winners from around the country to create new menu items.

Seafood lovers will delight in the lineup of new summer chefs, including Bryant Ng of The Spice Table in Los Angeles, Jason Franey of Canlis in Seattle and Viet Pham of Forage in Salt Lake City.

Ng, in particular, is a fan of chilled seafood, so Aspen diners can expect to find an array of fresh options on the Chefs Club by FOOD & WINE menu when he takes the helm. He’s been known to experiment and create dishes such as salted egg yolk crab, raw and fried geoduck and more.  (970-429-9581; chefsclubaspen.com) — Lanee Lee