One of the things we noticed and loved about a lot of the restaurants that we visited in Aspen, CO was the presence of an open kitchen. Although we sat at a table at Meat and Cheese, we were close enough to the bar/open kitchen area to be entertained by the food prep. We only had to wait about 20 minutes for a table, but there was plenty to browse in the deli and shop area of the store. They carry fresh produce and a selection of cured meats and cheeses, some of which are made in-house. Additionally, the stock various condiments, sauces, salts, spices, and snacks to go along with the meat and cheese or to create extravagant meals. Finally, they have different hand made china and ceramic bowls, cups, plates and serving platters. After we perused the shop for a bit, we were taken to our table.
The restaurant side is very “clean eats” style, with hand painted walls featuring different types of flowers and sections painted with chalkboard paint which presented the specials for the day. We noticed that they had a tortilla soup, but were bummed that this was only for lunch. Unfortunately, this was our last day in Aspen, so we have the soup on our list as a must-try for next time! Instead, we ordered the meat and cheese plate. How can you not order a meat and cheese plate at a restaurant that has the name meat and cheese??? Well, it held up to the expectations. The cheeses included a blue cheese from France, a triple cream brie from, a manchengo from, and a house-made aged cheddar. The meats featured a sopresatta, fancy bologna, house-made chorizo and a hard salami. The blue cheese was definitely super rich, but paired very nicely with the house-made apple butter. The triple cream brie was by far my favorite; it was light, creamy and melty…YUM! The house-made aged cheddar was surprisingly mild. I usually expect cheddar to be sharp and have a strong flavor, but it was not at all. The manchengo was a traditional manchengo and was very enjoyable as well. The cured meats were all very good and served with a dollop of very very spicy mustard. The house-made chorizo was unbelievable and we each saved a piece for our last bite.
Next we had the thai chicken noodle bowl, which wound up being a lot larger than we had expected. We had originally ordered the short rib plate as well, and had to cancel the order because it would have been too much food. We were super bummed because we were dying to try the short ribs, as this is one of the things they are known for (another thing to put on our list for next time). The thai chicken noodle bowl was made with the house-roasted chicken that you can see cooking in the roaster when you first walk into the restaurant. The chicken alone could have wow-ed us, but along with the rice noodles, leafy greats, peanuts, cucumber, egg, fried scalion and nouc cham dressing, the dish beyond wow-ed us!
We also enjoyed the polenta as a side dish, which could even pass for a dessert for people who usually like something more on the salty side than sweet. It was served over this *** of caramelized onions, ***, and ***. The polenta was a little on the coarser side but the cakes were warm, seasoned well and paired with this incredible ***.
For dessert we ordered the lemon square. It was served with vanilla bean whipped cream and had a *** crust. It was a perfect amount of lemon that didn’t make you have a tart face when you ate it and was refreshing. We recommend Meat and Cheese for lunch or dinner and hope that you are able to try a few other dishes as well. Since the chicken was so good we definitely recommend trying the chicken plate as well as any of the other roasted meats. We can’t wait to visit again next time we are in Aspen!
Follow your tummy…