Review of Ajax Tavern in Aspen (July 2012)
Located at the base of Aspen Mountain Ajax Tavern is prime real estate for people watching. I go there on many a sunny winter day to snack on truffle fries as I watch the flow of skiers and snowboarder’s drift by. It’s relaxing and fun and the truffle fries, my god, they’re just incredible. Two distinct visions of Ajax Tavern coexist in my mind. One is the cozy hot chocolatey cabin at the end of a long ski day, and the other is an elegant professional establishment with ostentatious dishes like fresh raw oysters, or poached rabbit tagliatelle. It’s whatever you want it to be.
The wait staff is flexible and devoted to customer service. I went with my dad once and he was dismayed to discover they had temporarily taken the mussels off the menu. Our waitress was perturbed and disappeared inside. Moments later she came out with the owner of the restaurant and we received a personal apology and a promise to reinstate the dish. Next time we went to the restaurant the mussels were indeed back on the menu, much to the delight of my dad.
This time around my friend and I escaped the sheeting rain and were immediately seated at a table looking out toward the mountains. While ordering a man leaned over from the adjacent table and told me to look outside. A bear was lumbering across the patio sniffing the air, and looking longingly into the restaurant. The restaurant was vibrating with laughter; happy to be inside and eating the food poor beary only got to smell.
My friend and I ordered the mussels and a side of breaded mac and cheese. While we chatted the waiter brought us a mini baguette straight from the oven and an artichoke asparagus dip that was delicious. The mussels were delicious. They were cooked in a traditional white wine sauce and came with a side of fries. The portion was plenty big for two people. By the end of the meal we were both stuffed. The mac and cheese was lightly toasted on top and the noodles were thick and creamy. It was very reasonably priced but being the broke children we are there was no money left over for dessert. We teased ourselves with the dessert menu anyways and the dishes looked original and tasty. We left with the glowing happy feeling a good meal gives you, barely noticing the rain.
I hold Ajax Tavern in the highest regards. I’ve never had a disappointing meal there. I highly recommend it for any occasion, and remember you must get the truffle fries.
- Catherine W.
Local foodie, Catherine Ward, is leaving Aspen next year to attend boarding school in Connecticut. As sad as she is to be leaving, she’s making the most of her last summer by chowing on all the delicious food Aspen has to offer. She’s ready and willing to embark on this summer culinary adventure and is looking forward to keeping the public updated on her antics. She enjoys eating, writing, and socializing, so restaurant reviewing could very well be, her true calling.