Makoto Vail Now Open at Grand Hyatt Vail

It was worth the wait for this truly fresh take on Japanese cuisine in the Vail Valley. Just minutes west of Vail Village by bike, car or bus, Makoto Vail is a new dining landmark in Grand Hyatt Vail and the latest venture of the celebrated chef Makoto Okuwa. With over 25 years mastering the art of Edomae-style sushi, chef Okuwa brings a blend of traditional Japanese culinary skills and his unique creative flair to the table.

Chef Okuwa has been recognized through his successful establishments in Miami, Washington, D.C., Panama City, Mexico City and São Paulo. Makoto Vail is his inaugural foray into Colorado, offering a menu that’s a testament to the rich traditions of Japanese culinary arts that are fused with innovative twists. Guests can expect a gastronomic journey that spans the delicate balance of flavors found in both raw and cooked dishes that are crafted with precision and artistry.

The drink program emphasizes cocktails featuring Japanese spirits and essences, complemented by a comprehensive selection of wine, sake, shochu and Japanese whisky. A fresh flower garnish on the Kodai No Hana cocktail sets a great tone for any evening, made with Doburoku sake, vodka, yuzu and agave.

Chef Okuwa’s menu is a creative spin on classic Japanese dishes and sushi, beginning with appetizers like shishito peppers with Szechuan sauce and bonito flakes, and a delicious tuna crispy rice enhanced by serrano chili. The menu continues with raw specialties including toro tartare sprinkled with cherry blossom salt and sesame miso, and umami kanpachi dressed in yuzu vinaigrette and garlic chips. The impressive selection of sushi, sashimi and maki presents an array of fresh fish directly sourced from Japan, alongside a daily assortment of rare specialty items.

For main courses, options range from Sakura pork tonkatsu accompanied by plum kombu and burnt lemon, to miso wild Alaskan sable fish served with pickled turnip and ume miso, along with steak selections like charcoal-grilled Snake River Farms aged ribeye and koji-butter dry-aged New York wagyu strip, complemented with smoked shishito sauce and fresh wasabi. Or keep it simple with rice and noodles, as the wasabi fried rice with pickled ginger and mixed vegetables, and the chicken ramen with yuzu oil and scallions hit the spot as refined comfort food. For dessert, the fruit toban yaki blends passionfruit white chocolate, exotic seasonal fruits, almond cookie crumble and mango sorbet to provide a sweet finish.

An intimate space that feels dynamic and lively, the restaurant’s design pays homage to the grace and minimalism of Japanese aesthetics, while embracing the breathtaking natural surroundings of the mountains. From the design expertise of HBA San Francisco, Makoto Vail brings to life the wabi-sabi aesthetic, a Japanese philosophy that finds beauty in natural imperfection, through the use of light woods, dark metals and smooth stones. Guests are welcomed by a grand shoji screen at the entrance, which leads to a bar area highlighted by an innovative art piece made of paper and string by Colorado’s own Jacob Hashimoto. A sushi bar, dining room and indoor-outdoor terrace offer seating options for any mood.

Makoto Vail feels like the modern and innovative restaurant Vail needs now, and we definitely recommend taking that extra jaunt due west of Vail’s core to make your way there.

The restaurant offers free shuttle transportation from Vail Village and Lionshead to Makoto Vail for off-property guests. Call 970.476.1533 for shuttle information.