Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dinner at Mizuna, Denver

I've been hearing good things about Mizuna for years, so it's a little surprising I hadn't eaten there before last night. On the other hand, it's a very pricey, special-occasion kind of place (at least on my budget). There's only so many of those I can afford in a year.

We started by sharing a dish of Nantucket Bay scallops in parsley and caper brown butter, accompanied by fried artichokes on lemon aioli.
The scallops were simply heavenly. Smooth and creamy and scallop-y, just lightly crisped around the edges and tender inside. We mopped up the butter sauce with our bread. The fried baby artichokes were cleverly presented – quartered and skewered –, and super-light, but I can't say they really tasted like anything but tempura batter. Maybe if I'd tasted them first; since the scallops were so distinctive they probably overwhelmed the much more subtle artichoke flavor.

For the main course, steak knives were added to the table. Styled to look like pocket knives, they were attractive and distinctive. A closer look revealed them to be Laguioles, which are the ne plus ultra of knives. Reading food blogs introduced me to them, but I'd never seen them in person. That's me, geeking out over tableware.

The Sergeant ordered the roasted Cervena venison loin, with crispy sweet potato cannelloni, roasted chestnuts and red wine choucroute.
It was quite tasty! And I found it interesting to compare the taste and texture of the venison with my Colorado rack of lamb.
That was accompanied by a daube of lamb and an artichoke and potato gratin. I liked the lamb both ways. It was super-tender, and I picked up the bones to gnaw off every last little bit. Gauche? Pas du tout!

The portions were generous, I thought, but not so large that you couldn't manage a bite or two of dessert. The Sergeant had Jivara chocolate pecan pie with Madeira ice cream.

I didn't even taste it! I had my hands full with my own cappuccino crème caramel and macarons. The crème caramel was brought to the table under an inverted coffee cup, which was then lifted to reveal it. Very sweet and yummy. I think it kept me awake for a while, too.
And since it was my birthday, I got a candle to make a wish on. No, I won't tell you what I wished for, or it won't come true!

But what I'm hoping is to go back one of these days and try the tasting menu.

225 E. Seventh Ave.
Denver, CO 80203


  1. Totally gorgeous pictures of what was happily a totally delicious celebratory meal.

    I have to confess that with so many special occasion restaurants in Boulder, we rarely go to Denver tp celebrate anything. A notable recent exception was that a couple of Septembers ago, we went to Fruitition for my birthday. My borther-in-law was visiting, and he and my husband had their sights set on the Wings Over the Rockies Air Museum. I said that since it was my birthday, I also wanted to go to the Denver Art Museum (and also show off the Hamilton Bldg to my BIL). Then, I chose Fruition, which was then quite new.

    I'm now thinking that a celeratory dinner at Mizuna might be worth a special trip.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    Claire @

  2. Happy belated bday, lady!! I've heard a lot about Mizuna, but never tried it. It's on the list (although you know how hard it is for me to get to Denver... only if I have an airline ticket in hand.) Your meal looks awesome and I hope you guys had a great time!! xxoo

  3. I actually carry a Laguiole knife exactly like that one in my handbag! Hubby bought it for my birthday a few years ago when Lee Valley sold them. It's a lovely thing, and I use it for ... nothing really. I just always thought it was cool to carry a nice knife for eating purposes, just in case you needed one to cut off a hunk of cheese somewhere in the daily travels. I mean, you never know if you'll run into a baron of beef or something like that. Did you notice the cute little bee on the knife? Queen of Bees should have one, don't you think? :)


  4. And thanks for the knife link - they have a nice little leather case w/ sharpener that's now on my wishlist. :)


  5. Great presentation. I love going to restaurants where the food is not only delicious, but beautiful as well. Happy Birthday!

  6. Well you've just ruined the soup I was about to have for lunch.

  7. Claire, it's worth a visit, I'd say. I really liked Fruition, too.

    Thanks, Jen! An awesome time was had. I can understand not getting here often; so many nice venues in Boulder, too.

    Nice, Dani! I didn't notice a bee, though. Is it part of their logo?

    Thanks, Betts! They had the food and the presentation down quite nicely.

    Sorry, Denise! Soup is nice, too ...