Sato Sushi Bar & Restaurant located in the heart of the Rockies | VailDaily.com

Sato Sushi Bar & Restaurant located in the heart of the Rockies

Heather Hower
Special to the Weekly

Editor's note: This article was previously published as a paid feature in EAT, a compendium of restaurant snapshots featuring the best in Vail Valley dining. Look for it on newsstands everywhere.

Fresh sushi — and other seafood delectables — are found right in the heart of the Rockies. Sato in Edwards calls to hungry diners with its full-length windows, low-slung contemporary bar and corner nooks where one can sit back and watch the comings and goings of what seems like most everyone in the Vail Valley. The space looks like a small restaurant but is much larger with the distinctive feel of a convivial gathering of friends as guests filter in throughout the night.

Once settled in with a cocktail (maybe the Lychee Ginger Martini or a refreshing Cucumber Martini with a bit of cold sake), pick your direction: seafood, sushi, noodles or meat and poultry. Let your eyes dance around the room to see what others have, but rely on the knowledgeable waitstaff to help steer you.

Instead of the typical edamame, check out the shishito peppers, with a Thai caramel sauce, a sweet and mildly spicy way to start the meal, the salty peanuts and julienned pickled red pepper adding pop and color to the plate. Or if this is the big night out for sushi, dive into the spicy tuna sashimi salad, salty and crunchy, with Japanese cucumber and macadamia nuts.

After the starter portion it's time to decide if you're going all-in sushi or delve into the entrées that are a mix of Japanese-inspired seasonings and American favorites including halibut, Asian baby back ribs, beef stir fry, filet mignon or spicy pad Thai — a rice noodle dish with chicken, coddled eggs, bean sprouts, peanuts and onions topped with a micro-green/cilantro mini salad for brightness. It's a beautifully balanced riff on the classic dish, and substantial without being heavy. Don't neglect the specials, which complement the everyday menu, such as a brined, braised pork in an umami sauce with petite clams, mushrooms and onions.

The sushi menu is just as divine with myriad selections with classic sushi and sashimi options: tuna, albacore, salmon and octopus. Then there's the unique to Sato: poached Colorado bass ponzu sashimi, poached flounder or the casaba salmon tartare (a special that is, indeed, special) with black lentils and scallions, drizzled in scallion oil and cassis with soy sauce for a salty-sweet flavor, topped with a petite salad with Japanese mint, sesame and a little spice.

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Need something a little heartier? The six-piece sushi rolls are as pretty on the plate as they are tasty, with fun local names. The Arrowhead, Cordillera and Sato Rolls are playful twists on the conventional. Fear not — favorites like the Caterpillar, Volcano or Eagle Roll are mainstays too.

End the meal with a light red bean or green tea ice cream or, if there's room, share the popular white chocolate bread pudding. Then sit back and watch the world go by.

If you go …

What: Sato Sushi Bar & Restaurant.

Where: 0105 Edwards Village Blvd., Suite E 101, Edwards.

Cost: Appetizers $4-$24; entrees $22-$34; sushi rolls start at $10.

Signature dish: Spicy tuna sashimi salad.

More information: Call 970-926-7684 or visit http://www.satosushiedwards.com.