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DINING

FISHING FOR COMPLIMENTS

We might be landlocked here in the Rockies, but but all rivers lead to the ocean, and seafood and fish are abundant on local menus. Whether they’re plucked from nearby waters or rushed to our valley from afar, the piscine options are bountiful —and the perfect choice for summer. When our days are bright and warm, it’s a delight to sink into one of these pristine offerings.

Photography by Brent Bingham

RUSSELL’S

Though Russell’s might be known as the best steakhouse in Vail, the Alaskan King Crab legs are the ultimate in decadence.Steamed to succulent perfection, they need no embellishment beyond drawn butter, some lemon and a bit of greenery. Though the view of Gore Creek out the wall of windows is a nice accompaniment.

PEPI’S

Too pretty to eat? Perhaps, but don’t let that stop you. The Pepi’s Tuna Crudo makes a nice foil for the citrus segments and lemon vinaigrette. Sliced cucumbers and shaved fennel slaw bring crunch, and creamy avocado softens the zing of jalapeño rings. It is the sort of thing you can feel smug for consuming, and still have room to try the other items at the table.

TI AMO

At EagleVail’s quintessential Italian restaurant, the Risotto alle Zafferano gets its vibrant color from the saffron-infused cream. A generous lobster tail is sautéed with oven-roasted tomatoes, zucchini and garlic. Studded with pistachios red pepper flakes, it’s a sexy, summery dish.

GROUSE MOUNTAIN GRILL

Sustainably fished and prepared with a deft hand, the baby Spanish octopus at Grouse Mountain Grill is charred with a quick hitof heat, before being layered with an herbaceous salsa verde and fingerling potatoes made decadent with chorizo. A bit of bread on the side wouldn’t be a bad idea, to make sure you get every saucy bite.

FIESTA’S

They began as a weekly special, but the fish tacos at Fiesta’s earned a permanent spot on the menu. Grilled on the flat top and nestled inside soft corn tortillas, they are served traditional-style with a deconstructed salad of fresh, crispy cabbage, tomato and avocado. A margarita or two makes a winning combination.

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MONTAUK

Though named for an area of New York famous for its seafood, the Lionshead restaurant serves pristine piscine dishes from the world over. Case in point: the Japanese Hamachi crudo, gingerly diced and dressed with ponzu. Citrus segments give lend sweet acidity and a pickled Serrano relish makes for a quick pop of heat. The watermelon radish base does double duty, offering a crisp crunch in addition to looking beautiful.

THE GASHOUSE

Whet your whistle with The Gashouse’s revolving selection of East and West Coast oysters on the half shell. Shucked to order, the bivalves release their briny secrets with the mere nudge of a fork. Spritz with lemon and a spike of hot sauce, and there’s no better beginning to a meal