Friday, March 5, 2010

Restaurant Week- Hits and Misses

The Miss
1515 Restaurant
1515 Market Street
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 571-0011

I was allured by the molecular gastronomy focused menu at 1515 and have been wanting to try it after months of watching intriguing techniques Top Chef and Iron Chef America. The concept of molecular gastronomy seeks to investigate and explain the chemical reasons behind the transformation of ingredients, as well as the social, artistic and technical components of culinary and gastronomic phenomena in general. I don't know what the benefits actually are more than looking really cool and being a gimmick to get people into your restaurant.

The meal at 1515 did not do much to change that image. The 3 course price fixed $52.80 menu sounded amazing. My husband ordered sous vide pork belly served cassoulet style with bacon and chicken confit. So great in concept yet it was dry. Which goes against everything we though sous vide would be. Sous vide is a method of cooking that is intended to maintain the integrity of ingredients by heating them for an extended period at relatively low temperatures. My salmon entree was the best meal of the evening. Cooked in lobster sauce, the veggies actually tasted like lobster and was quite delicious and almost playful.

Both desserts were disappointing. The chocolate and mint caviar that accompanied each dessert respectively were really nothing more than glorified jello bites and did little to complement the flavors or textures of the dessert.

In general, the meal was mediocre. And gimmick or not, it is unlikely we will be returning.

The Hit-
Firenze a Tavalo (basement of Parisi)
4401 Tennyson St
Denver, CO 80212
(303) 561-0234

A caveat, this is the first real meal I had after a week of a juice fast detox diet. So it might not have been as good it as I thought was but that I was just so happy to be eating. Though my dining companions concurred with the delicious factor so I think this is a fair review.

There were so many options to chose from on the $52.80 menu which is a real treat for a non meat eater. Usually I just have one option so there is not really a choice. We sampled the wonderfully flavor packed tomato and basil soup, the rich and hearty ribollita, and the smokey and tender roasted artichoke.

The risotto with scallops and truffle oil was earthy and creamy and everything I hope it would be. The meat eaters enjoyed their entrees as well and everything was cooked perfectly.

The desserts were all satisfying. The bread pudding was dense and sweet with chocolate pockets scattered about. The tiramisu was different then usual, with not quite soft lady finger cookies, lots of light sweet cream and no alcohol flavor.

The wines were very Italian. The atmosphere was subterranean and cozy and the Italian accents all authentic. We will definitely be returning here (on a wed-sat. night)

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