Asobi Teppanyaki restaurant opens in Breckenridge
IF YOU GO
What: Asobi Teppanyaki
Where: 110 S Park Ave., Breckenridge
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Contact: (970) 547-2862
Sometimes, it’s those off-the-beaten path restaurants that become the ones frequented most by locals.
Tucked away behind Christy Sports and next to Summit Wine & Liquor on Park Avenue, the new Asobi Teppanyaki isn’t one of those dining establishments easy to stumble into after a day of shopping on Main Street in Breckenridge, but its large parking lot and proximity to the Riverwalk Center make it a convenient location to stop for lunch or dinner — if you know where to find it.
The building, which formerly housed Taipei Tokyo for over nine years, was taken over by new owners Rick and Joyce Woo at the beginning of June. Opening as Asobi Teppanyaki on June 26, the menu includes the Chinese dishes that frequenters of Taipei Tokyo had come to love, but also an extensive list of flavorful Thai and Malaysian dishes created by the restaurant’s Malaysian chef. And after an extensive remodel next off-season, the establishment will re-open for the winter with teppanyaki grills and a sushi bar.
A FAMILY BUSINESS
Although this is their first business in Summit County, a restaurant isn’t a new venture for the couple. Rick’s family has been in the dining business in Vail for the last 30 years, and the pair owned a restaurant in Boulder for 14 years.
“We witnessed the ski town growing up,” Joyce said of the family’s Eagle County enterprises.
May Palace, a Chinese restaurant in West Vail, has been around for 30 years. The family also opened Sushi Oka in Vail Village, venturing into the sushi and teppanyaki realm. That was six years ago, and the teppanyaki-style cuisine has been so successful, they decided to bring the concept to Breckenridge. For the summer, Asobi will stick to its Asian dishes — Chinese, Thai and Malaysian — but in September, the restaurant will close its doors for around three months for a complete remodel. When it reopens not too far into ski season, it will feature a brand-new sushi bar and six teppanyaki grill tables for the full experience of having a meal cooked in front of the guests. After the remodel, they will also be serving a full bar, rather than just the beer and wine they currently serve.
The head chef at the Breckenridge restaurant, Pheng Foong, used to work for the Woos in Vail before moving to Houston. Foong, who goes by the nickname “Along,” missed the mountain lifestyle, however. So when the Woos opened Asobi, they immediately reached out to him to run the kitchen.
Foong started working in kitchens at the age of 15. After growing up in extremely poor conditions in Malaysia with a large family, he took to kitchen jobs as they provided both housing and food. He now has 35 years of restaurant experience under his belt and has worked in large Asian franchises such as Banana Leaf and Penang.
Four heaping plates of food are brought to the table, the first being Flame Shrimp, which consists of shrimp, pineapple, jicama, tomato and lemongrass wrapped in aluminum foil surrounded by its namesake — a ring of fire. Next, a Malaysian barbecue style mahi-mahi, wrapped in a grilled banana leaf. A beef green curry accompanies the dishes, and if that wasn’t enough, a crispy pineapple chicken set in a half a pineapple sliced down the middle rounds out every type of protein.
“This is how we like to eat, family style,” Joyce says and she starts spooning things onto plates.
The menu includes everything from edamame, egg rolls and Chinese-style barbecue ribs on the appetizer menu to soups, stir fried noodles, fried rice, curry and Kung Pao chicken.
“Along’s cooking style is influenced by many different South Asian styles because of where he grew up in Malaysia,” Joyce said. “His food is inspired by spices from India, Chinese stir-fry style, and Thai curry flavors.”
Asobi serves the Chinese dishes that consumers have come to expect, she says, but they want to encourage guests to try something new, dishes that are more traditional to her home.
“Of course we have the traditional Chinese. But everyone is doing that, we want to try different things.”
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