29 Jun Two Tasty Fine Dinings in Denver
Palettes Contemporary CuisineSome things just go well together; like peanut butter and jelly or socks with sneakers. And even better: a great restaurant located inside an art museum. Ron and I had the opportunity to drive down to Denver to review the Palettes fine dining restaurant located in the North Building of the Denver Art Museum complex.Our first glance was of a big room with numerous tables covered in crisp white linens. The flatware has a hammered nickel surface lying astride large folded white napkins. Oversize pieces of framed artworks hang on the white walls producing a a colorful contrast. We were seated at a table next to a large picture window. People-watching on this sunny, cloudless day kept us entertained during our meal.
Anthony, our server, explained the menu and shared with us his personal favorite entrees. The current museum exhibit, Samuri, was showing at this time. A complete menu from appetizers to entrees was created by their Executive Chef, Austin Cueto, to complement the exhibit. Pastas are made in-house. Palettes’s pastry chef also “steps up to the plate” and creates unique desserts to follow the theme.
I started with a salad of organic baby lettuce, gold beets, Humboldt fog cheese, candied walnuts and berry vinaigrette dressing. My entree consisted of corned beef brisket nestled on top of a root vegetable hash, topped with pouched eggs and a romesco sauce. Both dishes were as colorful and artistically presented as the paintings on the walls.
Anthony continued to fill my coffee cup with a rich robust Italian coffee,that happened to pair well with the carrot cake french toast for my dessert course. Yes, good old carrot cake taken one step further. Along with lovely garnishes, a little jug of warm maple syrup accompanied this unique sweet.
Afterwards, Ron and I strolled over to the elevator and pushed the 7th floor button.Our plan was to view all the floors of the museum one by one.
At the corner of Downing and Alameda in the Washington Park area of Denver is a lovely little surprise: the Cafe Marmotte. This is a traditional French bistro with an American twist. When Ron and I walked in, the first thing I said was, “What a charming and quaint restaurant. It’s going to be fun to enjoy a meal here.” With only 13 linen covered tables, personal service was a guarantee.
I tend to notice firstly, the decor on restaurant walls. A traditional French interior ornament was covering one of the walls; a large mirror set in a elaborate gold frame. Colorful paintings adorn the rest of the cozy room.
Rachael McQueeney, the general manager, was so bubbly and helpful in answering all our culinary questions. She shared with us that Cafe Marmotte’s staff’s goals was to be approachable, warm and welcoming. From the kitchen to the front of “the house”, everyone takes pride in what they do. A lot of returning regulars can attest to that.
I just sat contently, anticipating the dishes set before me. I appreciated that a small loaf of warm baguette bread along with a rich butter was placed on the table to keep us delightfully busy while our orders were prepared.
I am most content when a lovely bowl of soup is served. The Butternut Squash soup was flavorful and creamy; a simple soup that was cooked just like I would attempt at home. Ron and I shared the entree of Coq au Vin which was not overpowered with wine (like I disappointingly get in France). The burgundy braised chicken was served over bacon mashed potatoes, along with melted red cabbage and pearl onions.
I melted into the Warm Molten Chocolate Cake sided with in-house made grand marnier chocolate ice cream. See, didn’t I tell you; some things just go so perfectly well together!