Date of Dining: 10/04/2011
Fruition is the top Denver restaurant on Gayot. Open Table has it in their Top 3. 5280 Magazine has it #2. My verdict is in: the food and service were excellent. In my opinion, it is better than Vie or Everest (in Chicago). In fact, if it had a tasting menu I would have put it up near Roubichon perhaps even above. They, however, very specifically said they don’t do Tasting Menus except on Valentine’s Day. Bread was always available. The waiter brought me two wines to taste before he brought me a full glass to go with each course [With no Tasting Menu there was obviously no wine pairing]. I created my own 3-course meal with 2+ glasses of wine for a total of $92 including tax and tip. A bargain for a high-end restaurant.
I have always believed that you can judge a restaurant by how good the bread is. This was no different. They had two choices of bread: French White and Sourdough Wheat. Both were very well done, soft and fluffy on the inside with a crispy crust. The butter had a parsley/thyme sea salt on top. It made for a great combination. It was a little too salty for me, but others would have found it more to their taste.
For a starter I had Alaskan Halibut Cheek En Papillotte. Halibut Cheek in a puff pastry on top of an heirloom tomato salad and topped with a tapenade. It was a well-balanced dish, the heirloom salad gave it some sweetness and the tapenade was mixed with some cabbage – making it a salty slaw. The halibut itself was perfectly cooked and absolutely fantastic.
Wine Pairing: Domaine Jean Vullien et Fils, “Montmélian”, Vin de Savoie, France. A tart dry wine, reminded me very much of granny smith apples (which I love). It also paired extremely well with the Halibut.
For the main course, I had Grilled Bavette Steak Au Poivre. The chef suggested that I have the steak Medium Rare, and who the hell am I to go against the chef’s recommendation [Though my preference is for a Medium doneness]. A chive ranch dressing topped the steak. It was a good Steak au Poivre, but what made the dish were the accompanying items. First, it came with fries cooked in duck fat. And this might sound like an insult but it is not by any stretch: Do you remember Potato Sticks? I haven’t had Potato Sticks in at least 10-15 years. Well, the fries tasted like Potato Sticks, but not as crispy. They were perfectly cooked. Last and certainly not least as it was the best thing on the dish by far – the oyster mushroom & sweetbread ragu. Several pieces of sweetbread throughout the plate, all of which were juicy and delicious.
Wine Pairing: Owen Roe, Corvidae, “The Keeper”, Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, Washington. When the waiter brought the two wines to taste, he didn’t tell me what the wines were. My first thought when tasting this wine was that it was a Malbec. It had the same robust flavor with a slight fruitiness.
For dessert, I had Gorgonzola Dolce. It was a cheese plate so I was required by my own standards to get the cheese plate for dessert. It was three very soft Gorgonzola pieces. I hate Fig Newtons. Hate them. However, I love figs. The Gorgonzola was served with figs which was a very good pairing. Also on the plate was a crouton soaked in Olive Oil. With that, everything on the plate was soft, I would have liked a textural contrast. The crouton probably shouldn’t have been soaked in olive oil — instead the olive oil should have been drizzled over top. But it is a small qualm.
Wine Pairing: ???? He brought me a splash of wine to go with the cheese, but he didn’t tell me what it was (he said it was the other wine from what I tasted earlier, but he never told me what it was).
Overall, Fruition provides high quality food for one of the best values around. They could charge 50-100% more for the food they are providing. As I said they didn’t have a tasting menu, but they definitely encouraged sharing of plates. With a larger group, you could order nearly everything on the menu and then share it. It might be hard to split some of the items, however, as some of the dishes are small plates. I’d highly recommend this restaurant for a special occasion or you are just looking for some high quality food without breaking the bank.
WWYT Rating: 9.00
Gayot Rating: 16/20