Close your eyes at traMonti Ristorante, breathe deep the aroma of fried calamari and rock shrimp, taste the sea in the Hawaiian rock salt adorning grappa-cured salmon, and you can almost hear the lapping of the Mediterranean at your feet. Open your eyes, and see the verdant summer slopes of Beaver Creek framed through ceiling-high picture windows ” not a bad reality to return to. The divergence of taste and place is one of several pleasant contrasts in an evening at traMonti, where traditional Northern Italian cuisine gets a new twist, and diners ” valley residents and visitors alike ” are transported far from home.
The menu and wine list at traMonti may be firmly rooted in Italy, but many of the ingredients chef Dustin Aipperspach uses are decidedly domestic. “Dustin definitely wants to take a more quality-over-quantity stance on our food,” says owner Jerry Weiss. The pastas are homemade and hand-cut, lending a rustic appearance to dishes like rigatoni primavera, a hearty combination of roasted organic chicken breast, Colorado-grown veggies and fruity olive oil. The refreshing caprese salad boasts house-made mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes. You may even catch Weiss at local farmers’ markets, piling his basket high with tomatoes, eggplants and other vegetables that will end up on traMonti’s angular white plates.
With Aipperspach at the reins, traMonti oscillates between favorites like veal osso bucco and envelope-pushing entrees like seared tuna encrusted with lavender and fennel pollen. “This is Italian food, it’s just a little bit on the newer edge,” says Aipperspach, who incorporates his French- and sushi-chef training into traMonti’s menu. Many items are an ode to summer, like steamed Prince Edward Island mussels (in a garlic-chili pinot grigio broth you’ll want to drink) and bibb lettuce salad with a musky, sweet fig-balsamic vinaigrette. To complete the summer scene, dine on the sun-bathed patio with sweeping mountain views. Whatever your selection, be sure to get a wine recommendation from Weiss, whose spot-on palate will enhance even the beginning sipper’s experience. With more than 200 wines and a by-the-glass list that changes to suit the season, there’s a grape
traMonti Ristorante In the Charter at Beaver Creek 970.949.5552