Cavatelli with Braised Short Ribs. INSET: David Burke
Fasten your seat belts, Aspen, there is a whole lot of fun coming to town this January, and it’s in the form of chef David Burke. Known worldwide for his whimsical take on American food, Burke plans to open his first restaurant in Aspen this winter. In a new building located on the coveted downtown corner that once housed the Gap, David Burke Kitchen will encompass a whopping 8,861 square feet inside, 3,140 square seasonal feet outside as a rooftop patio, and a basement nightclub, Cricket Room.
Why Aspen; why now? We’ve always wanted to be in this part of the world. We’re very proud to be in Aspen; it’s a privilege.
What is the space like: We’ve got a great designer from Chicago, Karen Herold from 555 International. It will feel cool and appeal to the 20-year-old and the 70-year-old. We had an open palette. We aren’t taking over an old space or an old bank.
How will you handle a seasonal resort town? I worked in Norway, and I’ve traveled, so I know all about resorts. Food is food; culture’s culture. The secret is it’s all about people coming back, making them feel welcome. It’s called hospitality. It’s a trick of the trade.
What do you hope people will take away from your new restaurant? Excitement. I don’t think Aspen is lacking anything. We are just enhancing what it already has.
What about your cocktail program? We’ll have four bars and the nightclub downstairs in the basement called Cricket. We’re coming ready to play.
Will you create the menu? I have 20 great chefs, including Matt O’Neill (formerly chef at Ajax Tavern), who will be chef in Aspen. I am the editor of what they think and am proud of that. I can’t say that I’ll be there every day, but I’ll be there a lot.
Let’s talk skiing: My nickname is “Downhill Dave.” I learned on Buttermilk with my son when he was 6. He told me, “I want to stay here and learn how to ski.” Now he’s 26, and he’ll be the beverage manager in Aspen. David Burke Kitchen 515 Hopkins Ave., Suite 200
Homemade Cavatelli with Braised Short Ribs and Mushroom Chips
16 oz. ricotta cheese
1 pinch salt
3 cups (1 lb.) all-purpose flour
For Mushroom Chips:
1 lb. large white or portobello mushrooms
2 cups clarified butter or vegetable oil
Coarse or kosher salt
For Short Ribs:
2 tbs. canola oil
6 bone-in short ribs, cut 2 inches thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, sliced
3 celery ribs, sliced
3 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1 bottle dry red wine (750ml)
4 sprigs thyme
3 cups veal stock
In a large skillet, heat oil. Season ribs with salt and pepper. Add to skillet and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until browned and crusty (18 minutes). Transfer the ribs to a shallow baking dish in a single layer. In the skillet, add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic; cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned (20 minutes). Add wine and thyme and bring to a boil over high heat. Pour hot marinade over ribs, and let cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning ribs once.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Transfer the ribs and marinade to a large, enameled cast-iron casserole dish. Add the veal stock; bring to a boil. Cover and cook in the lower third of the oven for 1 ½ hours, until the meat is tender but not falling apart. Uncover and braise for 45 minutes longer, turning ribs once or twice, until the sauce is reduced by about half and the meat is very tender.
Transfer meat to a clean, shallow baking dish; discard bones as they fall off. Strain sauce into a heatproof measuring cup and skim off fat. Pour sauce over meat. Preheat broiler. Broil the meat until glazed and sizzling (10 minutes). To serve, place short ribs atop cavatelli and add mushroom chips.
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF DAVID BURKE GROUP