Matsuhisa offers intricate Japanese cuisine with a Hokusetsu chaser |

Matsuhisa offers intricate Japanese cuisine with a Hokusetsu chaser

New style salmon sashimi.
Dominique Taylor/Dominique Taylo
If you go ... What: Matsuhisa Vail, an upscale and grandiose dining room and sushi bar with warm yet urban aesthetic. Where: 141 East Meadow Drive | Solaris | vail Cost: Starters, Sushi & Sashimi: $5-$34; Entrées: $17-$42. Signature dish: Miyazaki beef tataki style with sliced garlic, mimoji iroshi, negi and a tosazu dipping sauce More information: 970.476.6628 |

Of all the reasons to spend an evening at Matsuhisa Vail, one of the best may be the elixir inside a bamboo carafe, ready to be poured, sipped and savored.

Chef Nobu first experienced Hokusetsu sake in 1987 when his Japanese rock musician friend brought a bottle to the original Matsuhisa restaurant in Beverly Hills. Impressed by the quality, Nobu obtained exclusive rights to sell Hokusetsu sake.
“The only places in the world that you can get any of the sakes we pour are Matsuhisa or Nobu restaurants,” shares Jordan Harrill, General Manager of Matsuhisa Vail.

The Hokusetsu sakes are brewed on Sado Island, known for having the purist water in Japan — one of the key ingredients of sake, along with rice and yeast. From assisting with guests’ drink pairings to delivering complete descriptions with every dish served, Harrill and his impeccable service team at Matsuhisa Vail create an informative and interactive experience.

Enjoy the sake like you would any multi-layered, complicated dish: try the silky texture and crisp finale of Nobu TK40 Dai-Ginjo, or the delicate aromas and a sophisticated finish of Nobu YK35 Dai-Ginjo. Ask to know more, and Harrill will tell you how the rice grains on these sakes are polished, or shaved, just slightly differently, resulting in unique flavor and texture.
Let the team lead you through the menu, from the Tiradito Roll with tempura-fried shishito pepper, avocado and creamy spicy sauce, finished with rocoto chili paste, cilantro, yuzu and soy seasoned salt, to the made-to-order steamed silken tofu topped with crispy Brussels sprouts and tossed in tosazu sauce.

Don’t shy from the staples — those delectable dishes that are almost too good to resist every time you’re in the restaurant. But do order more, like the Miyazaki Beef Tataki Style — grade A5 Japanese beef lightly peppered and seared, served with sliced garlic, mimoji iroshi, negi and a tosazu dipping sauce. Another standout, the salmon with wasabi salsa, is lightly seared and thinly sliced salmon with wasabi salsa and house-made soy sauce.

“The wasabi salsa is made of every part of the root, including the stem, flower, leaf, skin, onion, garlic puree, grapeseed oil and ponzu sauce,” explains Harrill. He’ll share it all, as much as you want to know about everything that has been so intricately prepared. And also, of course, he will never let your sake glass go dry.

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