Friday, November 14, 2008

Fruition (Denver, CO)

1313 E 6th Ave, Denver, CO 80218
Fri 11/14/2008, 05:00p-06:10p

After having eaten at Mizuna the night before, I still had one more dinner to go in Denver. Though relatively new, Fruition also came highly recommended. The restaurant had been open for about a year and half, and represents a partnership between Executive Chef Alex Seidel and Maitre d’ Paul Attardi (both formerly of Mizuna, as is Sous Chef Drew Inman).

Fruition is located in a largely residential area along the 6th Avenue district of Denver, and is pretty easy to miss. It's also not far from Mizuna.

The space has a warm, inviting look, highlighted by tones of light woods, burgundy walls, and plenty of candles. In addition to this main dining room, there is also a smaller room off to the side.

The menu offers French-influenced seasonal contemporary American cuisine. Since there was no tasting menu option offered, I decided to make my own, opting for four appetizers. Click for larger versions.

I asked for a mojito to start, but a lack of mint stymied that idea rather quickly. Instead, I opted for a Tom Collins [$8.00], which unfortunately turned out a bit too sweet, like the one I had on my last visit to CUT; I prefer my Tom Collins on the dry and refreshing side, as at Capo and Napa Rose. Afterwards, I ordered a glass of the NV Francois Montand Crémant du Jura Brut Rosé [$9.00], an enjoyable, easy-drinking sparkler with lovely apple and yeasty notes.

A wheat bread and a French Bâtard (similar to a baguette) were provided, as was a particularly flavorful parsley-, thyme-, and sea salt-topped butter.

Potato-Wrapped Oysters Rockefeller [$12.00]
Parmesan-Leek Emulsion, Bacon Lardons, Baby Spinach. Traditional oysters Rockefeller consists of baked oysters on the half-shell topped with a variety of ingredients, so I was surprised at the presentation here. The potato wrappers reminded me of Lays chips, and their savory flavor, along with lardons', matched well with the oysters' brininess. To contrast this was the smooth creaminess of the Parmesan-leek emulsion and the bitterness of spinach. The overall effect was very enjoyable.

Pastrami Cured Salmon Sandwich [$11.00]
Dark Rye Toast, Honey Crisp Apple Choucroute, Mustard Crème. A twist on the traditional pastrami on rye, the spicing and smoking of the pastrami process gave the salmon a unique savory flavor and tempered its fishiness, while the crisp texture and sour tang of the apple choucroute (sauerkraut) further elevated the dish, as did the tangy mustard crème.

Pasta Carbonara [$11.00]
House-Cured Pork Belly, Hand-Made Cavatelli, Six Minute Egg, Parmesan Broth. The pork belly was everything you'd expect, falling-apart tender, rich, and fatty. But for me, the key to this dish was the egg, prepared as to be still soft and runny. By itself, the pork would have been overwhelming, so the egg was key in cutting its intensity. The cavatelli served a similar function, and also provided an important textural contrast. Very nice.

Crispy Duck Leg Confit [$13.00]
Maple-Candied Sweet Potato, Toasted Hazelnut Salad, Golden Raisin Vinaigrette. The confit itself was delicious, with its intensely flavored, super-soft flesh topped by a light crispy skin. However, the puréed sweet potato was far too sweet for the duck. The candied hazelnuts and raisin vinaigrette didn't help things either. The end result was an overbearing sweetness that drew all attention away from the natural flavor of the duck. I expressed my thoughts on the dish to my server, resulting in the course being comped.

Warm Sticky Toffee-Date Cake [$8.00]
Gala Apple Compote, Crème Fraiche Ice Cream, Hot Toffee Sauce. I had Maitre d’ Paul Attardi surprise me with a dessert selection, and his choice did not disappoint. I loved the interplay between the dense, warm cake and the refreshing coolness of the ice cream, while the toffee sauce and apples added even more interest. The dessert was paired with the Pacific Rim, Riesling, Eiswein, Washington [$9.00], and this match worked beautifully, with the wine's acidity balancing the weight of the dessert, while contributing lovely tropical fruit flavors to the mix. Both the dessert and the wine were also comped.

Fortunately, my hopes for Fruition did indeed come to fruition. Except for the duck, I was very pleased with the food, and the experience was further bolstered by Attardi's attentive and friendly service. Fruition has poached some of the talent from Mizuna, and like Mizuna, I think this place too is destined for greatness.


Blogger Frequent Traveler said...

I want to learn how to take pictures like you do - they are always so impressive !

Glad that you liked Fruition for the most part, except for the duck.

I called Studio at The Momtage in Laguna Beach to try dinner there after your review - and they said they would not allow me to take pictures. ??? You had just been there less than 2 weeks prior and done so. I cancelled the reservation...

Monday, November 17, 2008 5:35:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

I use a Fuji FinePix F30, a camera that's especially good in low light. That's part of it, and Photoshop is the other part.

Regarding the photos, it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission. I just start snapping until they tell me to stop, which is rarely. ;)

Monday, November 17, 2008 3:35:00 PM  
Blogger Frequent Traveler said...

Ahhh, smart !!! I just got a hard time when I called The Luau on Bedfor in Beverly Hills - next time I won't ask !

Do you tell restuarnts you have a blog BEFORE you dine there ?

How do you always get to meet the chef ? do you ask to after your meal is finished, to go say thank you ?

I will put that camera on my xmas list :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

I definitely don't tell them anything before I dine, or after I dine. Sometimes they find out on their own though.

As for the chef, I just ask if he has a few minutes, which is usually at the end of the night. Or you can also ask to have a tour of the kitchen. Usually they're more than happy to oblige.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 11:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm back from denver and wanted to thank you for the dinner suggestions (via for various reasons, we ended up at fruition. for starters, we had a glass of the same sparkling rose you enjoyed. loved it--very friendly wine. i had the nantucket bay scallops with celery root crema; super! my friend had the riesling poached pear, which--while good--she found a little sweet for starter.

on to main course. friend had the duck breast with risotto. i had the beef colette with a blue cheese tart and mushroom spinach salad. i win, i win! for wine, we had the owen roe sinister hand GSM---delicious and a surprisingly reasonable price.

service was fab. butter with herbs and salt was addictive. a terrific dinner!

here's the winter 2008 menu:

ciao kevin!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 9:26:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

afrikando, I'm glad to hear everything worked out for you!

It's also good to see that the menu has changed somewhat from my visit.

Thursday, December 11, 2008 1:58:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home