| November 21, 2014 | Food & Drink
An Aspen institution, Rustique Bistro, welcomes a new chef for winter.
Rustique’s new head chef, Ulisis Salas, is introducing new dishes to the menu.
Rob Ittner had a singular vision in mind when he opened Rustique Bistro with former Aspen chef-restaurateur Charles Dale 15 years ago. “We wanted it to feel like a restaurant you’d stumble on in France,” he says. “There’s no decorative tiles or mirrors or brass. It’s more country style, like in Avignon, in Provence, where I spent time as a kid.”
French country style translates to the menu as well, and that’s head chef Ulisis Salas’s domaine. For his first winter season at Rustique, Salas will continue with his signature rustic, hearty comfort food: onion soup gratineé served in terra-cotta pots, steak frites, pot-au-feu, classic escargot. But he’ll get to show his creative side, too, smoking duck breast, making and curing sausage for the charcuterie board, and using whole cuts of meat, including leg of lamb, pork shoulder, and venison quarters, which are roasted, braised, and sliced for nightly specials. And, of course, calf hearts, boudin noir, and tongue continue to be offered as well, for those with more adventurous tastes.
Bacon wrapped pork chop.
As always, Ittner places an emphasis on service, which he defines as “giving guests the experience they anticipate before they even walk through the door.” That much of his staff has a long tenure at the restaurant helps with the mission. Take bartender Steve Smith, for instance. Over the past 12 years, he has established a following of locals and visitors alike who settle at his bar for a post-work or pre-dinner cocktail or glass of wine. “It puts people at ease to be welcomed by a familiar face, by someone who knows what they like,” says Ittner. “It makes their experience memorable.” 216 S. Monarch St., 970-920-2555
PHOTOGRAPHY BY C2 PHOTOGRAPHY