Vail, Colorado – September 18, 2023 – The MICHELIN Guide officially made its debut in Colorado last week with two Vail restaurants receiving a Recommended distinction. Sweet Basil and Osaki’s were noted for their above average menu selections that use quality ingredients and unique preparations.
“We are thrilled to have Michelin recognize Vail’s outstanding culinary scene,” said Esmarie Faessler, chair of the Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council. “To have two restaurants included the first edition of the MICHELIN Guide Colorado is truly an honor. We are proud of the teams at Sweet Basil and Osaki’s for receiving the Recommended designation.”
Osaki’s features the finest quality Japanese sushi and cuisine in an off-the-beaten-path location in the heart of Vail Village. Once travelers find the restaurant, they are bound to revisit over and over for the finest and freshest ingredients that focus on the no frills food experience. According to the MICHELIN inspectors, “Osaki’s is a tiny spot where just a handful of counter seats and a sprinkling of tables await diners. It’s a classic sushi-ya in every way with a no-frills look but a laser-focus on the fish. After taking a seat, diners consult a whiteboard for the selections, enjoyed either as nigiri or sashimi. The quality shines through and isn’t gussied up with superfluous sauces or flourishes. Indeed, their purist mentality is best seen in the selection, where offerings such as hagatsuo, not often found outside of very small regions in Japan, make an appearance. Japanese snow crab is sweet and meaty; akamutsu is silky; and buttery ankimo proves why it’s given the nickname, ‘foie gras of the sea.’”
One of Vail’s most sought-after reservations, Sweet Basil also was Recommended by the MICHELIN Guide. Inspectors noted that “this legendary local establishment has a long and storied history, and it remains as popular now as ever, whether for lunch, après-ski drinks at the bar or dinner. The menu is eclectic, freely borrowing and blending flavors from across the globe, as in tempura-fried mahi mahi tacos with peanut salsa macha, bone marrow pho with scallop, or a miso black garlic-glazed halibut with fondant potatoes. Desserts are whimsical, but seriously good, for example the indulgently named “if you like piña coladas,” which features caramelized pineapple compote, passion fruit pâte de fruit and a crunchy coconut crumble. Carefully mixed cocktails and a compelling wine list round out the abundant appeal of this approachable yet elevated favorite.”
Not only has Sweet Basil helped define the Vail culinary scene for nearly 50 years, but the restaurant has trained some of Colorado’s best chefs, who also were recognized in the state’s first-ever MICHELIN Guide.
“It’s such an honor to be recognized by Michelin,” said Matt Morgan, owner of Sweet Basil. “It’s not just about the food but the people at Sweet Basil who really make the culinary experience come to life. And, it’s so exciting to see so many Sweet Basil alumni recognized by Michelin as well.”
Former Sweet Basil Sous Chef Alex Seidel partnered with Dan Skvarca, a former server at the restaurant, to open Denver-based Fruition and Mercantile Dining & Provision, which were both Recommended by the MICHELIN Guide. Former Sous Chef Blake Edmunds also was recognized by Michelin with a Bib Gourmand distinction for his Denver-based restaurant Mister Oso.
In June, Michelin announced it was embarking on its first-ever Colorado Guide. Since then, inspectors have been assessing restaurants in Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen, Snowmass, Boulder and Denver based on five criteria 1) quality products; 2) the harmony of flavors; 3) the mastery of cooking techniques; 4) the voice and personality of the chef as reflected in the cuisine; 5) consistency between each visit and throughout the menu (each restaurant is inspected several times a year).
The famously anonymous MICHELIN Guide inspectors award the iconic MICHELIN Stars – one, two or three – to unparalleled cuisine. The Guide also is renowned for its Bib Gourmand selections and good prices. The MICHELIN Green Star is given to restaurants that are leaders in sustainable gastronomy. Recommended restaurants and special professional awards are also highlighted by the inspectors.
Colorado received five One-MICHELIN-Star restaurants, 30 Recommended restaurants, four Green Star restaurants and nine Bib Gourmand designations. The full 2023 selection totals 44 restaurants. The guide celebrates the diversity, quality and exceptional talent that define the state’s culinary landscape.
For more information on the more than 75 restaurants and bars that make up Vail’s vibrant culinary scene, please visit DiscoverVail.com. Information on Michelin’s first-ever Colorado guide can be found at Guide.Michelin.com.
About Discover Vail
Discover Vail in the spring, summer and fall. There’s no place like Vail for year-round recreation, outdoor pursuits and cultural experiences in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. Nestled at the foot of Vail Mountain just two hours west of Denver, Vail’s fresh air, rugged beauty and charming pedestrian villages await visitors. Discover quaint Bavarian villages where outdoor activities abound and the performing arts flourish. Matching the incredible winter mountain experience, Vail from May through October is characterized by a rich culinary scene, family activities, world-class events and everything in between.
About Michelin North America, Inc.
Michelin, the leading mobility company, is working with tires, around tires and beyond tires to enable Motion for Life. Dedicated to enhancing its clients’ mobility and sustainability, Michelin designs and distributes the most suitable tires, services and solutions for its customers’ needs. Michelin provides digital services, maps and guides to help enrich travel and make them unique experiences. Bringing its expertise to new markets, the company is investing in high-technology materials, 3D printing and hydrogen, to serve a wide variety of industries — from aerospace to biotech. Headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, Michelin North America has approximately 23,000 employees and operates 34 production facilities in the United States and Canada. (michelinman.com)
Media Contacts: Kristin Yantis or Amanda McNally, Malen Yantis Public Relations, [email protected], (970) 949-7919