Sunday, January 18, 2009

i kick it root down

Denver, Colorado isn't exactly known as a restaurant mecca. Don't get me wrong, there are some great places to eat but the quantity is minuscule in comparison to a city like Portland or Seattle. Being married to a man whom proudly claims he's from the Northwest has opened my eyes to how these cities feel about food and music. For lack of a better term, they are snobs. Something about inventing an entire music genre will do that to you I guess. The thing is, they have a right to be. The food there is good. It's really good. It's hip without being pretentious, it's global without being ethnic, it's organic before Safeway had their own brand. It's local, it's seasonal and the best part; it's probably not something you have had anywhere else. Meaning it's creative. 

Enter Root Down. Firmly planted in what once was a vacant 1950's service station. Complete with glass garage doors that open to a patio, mid century furnishing, a reclaimed bowling alley bar and a wall filled with tin can tops. Call it quirky, call it cozy, call it whatever you like, but it's good for Denver. The restaurant opened a few weeks ago and already has a steady following. Owner Justin Cucci, of the famed Le Waverly in NYC, hit it right by teaming with, Michael Ivey for front of house biz, Ryan Leinonen, former chef of the Kitchen, in Boulder, and Austin Bealmear, sous chef, previously of Boulder's Trilogy Wine Bar, to create what I would call Northwestern inspired food. 

I hit up the restaurant last week with some friends. We ordered a sampling of items from the salads, small plates and entrees menu. First up off the salad section was the Avocado & Grapefruit Salad and the Goat Cheese & Fennel Panna Cotta. Then Diver Sea Scallops on pickled ginger slaw, Veggie Sliders, Steamed Mussels with thai chili and lemongrass and Gnocchi in that order from the small plates. Finally Braised Lamb with Almond Couscous & Chard and a gorgeous Veggie Pot Pie off the entrees. Yeah, we went a little overboard but couldn't resist. Everything was a bite to savor. Only the gnocchi left me less than satisfied. The best part? We were served one plate at a time, we all shared and got a bite or two of each plate. The worst part? We were too full for dessert AND they were completely out of St. Germain for all their fancy cocktails.

This summer look forward to ingredients in the chef's creations coming from one of the two gardens located at the restaurant. Another forerunner in the field to fork concept for Denver.

1600 W. 33rd Ave., 303-993-4200


  1. OK, can we please go here when I come to Denver to visit you guys?

  2. Jora, I would love for you to come out. Anytime.