Element 47’s anticipated redesign puts emphasis where it should be: on the food. The Little Nell’s restaurant opened to a limited number of guests on Thursday night, and the renovation’s modern feel makes food the star of the show. Formerly Montagna, Element 47 made serious upgrades to its look, and menu, to match its five-star home inside The Little Nell at the base of Aspen Mountain.
In a nod to Aspen’s mining history, the restaurant is named after silver’s placement on the periodic table of elements. Inside, Element 47 and Executive Chef Robert McCormick serve contemporary food with local flair. That translates to items like Emma Farm Waygu beef or wild mushroom flan and tortellini. The menu is now divided into small, medium and large plates. The first is meant to be shared appetizers, like the Nantucket scallop ceviche with avocado and pomegranate wafer. The second is a personal starter, such as local Anjou pear agnolotti, and the third a full entree, like Columbia River sturgeon with parsnips, black truffle and parsnip. But, because they’re reasonable portion sizes, diners can indulge in one of each.
With two master sommeliers on the floor, the restaurant’s wine selection boasts a 20,000-bottle cellar. And in a nod toward the Centennial state, there is a Colorado Well, serving regional beers, spirits and wine varietals. In conjunction with the opening, Element 47 also unveiled its new private-label champagne, Marc Hébrart “Sélection” Brut, N.V.
James Beard Award-winning design team Bentel & Bentel renovated the space, incorporating muted earth tones with natural elements such as stone, dark wood and rich leather. Textured curtains soften the large room, and Glassybaby candle holders offer an intimate touch to each table. Bright red glasses with an intricate lattice pattern hold water, providing the only color splash on the table besides the food itself.
The renovation is classy and sleek, understated and doesn’t distract. Impeccable service makes for a serene experience. Nice touches like the perfectly salted, personal-pan bread rolls served at the beginning of the meal, and Meyer lemon lollipops to refresh the palate at the end, round out the sensory experience. Even the curious amuse bouche bubble tea fit into place.
Those who have come to expect consistently stellar food and service from The Little Nell team will be delighted that the ambiance now complements these characteristics.
The restaurant opens to limited seating on Dec. 1, with full breakfast, lunch and dinner service starting Dec. 5.