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Denver: Fruition?

Has anybody been? Somethin' Else is sorely missed in our house, but I've noticed that Fruition has been open a few weeks. Is it worth a visit?

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  1. These guys have really brightened up the space and the service was great. Four of us really liked the food but thought the prices were a bit high for a neighborhood place and the portion size served. You will recognize many faces in the front and back of the house if you were a Mizuna fan. Absolutely worth a visit.

    1. Have been wondering about that place myself. I also have really missed Somethin' Else. Please post if you go.

      3 Replies
      1. re: hungrygirldenver

        I went about a month ago, and am going back again tonight. The food was wonderful, and the service perfect. It didn't feel like a new place at all. Particular standouts were the veal cheeks (I love cheeks) and the bread pudding.

        Not sure if you saw, but it got a glowing review in the Denver Post last week.

          1. re: hungrygirldenver

            Went last week finally, and I was a little worried that it might not live up to my expectations. It did - and surpassed them. Will definitely be going back.

      2. They said they are tweaking the menu this Thursday. Some of the same items will remain, but may be accompanied by different veggies, etc. I've had perfect apps and mains (and great service) here on two trips in a row, and the only other places in the area I can remember enjoying/trusting this much right out of the gate are Adega (RIP) and Frasca. The tables around me were filled with people contentedly cooing over their food as well.

        1. just dined at fruition last night while in town for a conference. i had a fantastic experience, from beginning to end. i originally had an 8:30pm reservation on a friday night, but since i was dining alone and had a very early morning the next day, i called, hoping to see if i could get in a bit earlier. drew (one of the chefs, i believe), answered, was very sweet and quite fun to talk to, told me there was nothing at the time (i called around noon on friday), but advised that i call back at 5pm to speak with the co-owner paul, who also ran the front of the house. paul graciously told me that, while he didn't have any cancellations, if i came by around 7:30, he'd see what he could do for me and at the very least, i could have a glass of wine and chat while i waited.

          i got to the restaurant at 7:40pm, met paul, who was, to sum it up, quite a gentleman--polite, charming, professional, warm, and extremely proud of his restaurant! before i could even order a glass of wine, he seated at me at a nice table by the door, where he said he could "keep an eye on me" and we could chat. as a solo diner, i found his attentiveness very welcoming, esp given that i was taking up a much coveted two-table top on a VERY busy friday night.

          every aspect of the service was great--my waiter made a great recommendation on wine and was very knowledgeable about the menu. servers came by constantly to refill water and offer more bread. paul took care of calling me a cab and essentially putting me in it at the end of the evening, without batting an eye.

          on to the food! bread - choice of white batard or wheat levain, both good, accompanied by a flavorful butter sprinkled with herbed fleur de sel. appetizer - seared halibut cheeks with olives, capers, tomatoes, and gewurtzaminer jus. very good dish, slightly richer than i expected, but still quite light. i wouldn't call this "seared," more "cooked." but not overcooked--just definitely more well-done than "seared" would imply. i don't think this detracted from the dish, but i do think that the dish may have been even better if the fish were actually seared. i liked the saltines of the dish, esp when i paired it with some of the white batard. went exceptionally well with the glass of red from spain - altizura - that i was drinking! finally, for my main, i had the maine duck breast--topped with fried arugula, on bed of a parmesan risotto, with red onion marmalade. this was excellent. complex flavors, with saltiness of risotto, sweetness of marmalade, bitterness of arugula, and unctuousness of the duck--i think it overall worked well, although i wasn't sure whether i liked the somewhat alarming contrast of the arugula with all of the other flavors. definitely a memorable dish, though! perfectly crisp duck skin, perfect sized serving--not too big, not too small.

          unfortunately, even though i tried to save room for dessert, i felt perfectly sated at the end of my meal, and sadly, was getting sleepy and needed to head back to the hotel. so i missed out on the vanilla bean pudding and lemon meringue pie that i saw my neighbors having! but, the hospitality of the hosts, and particularly of paul, left me with enough warmth at the end of the evening that i felt quite satisfied, even without dessert! i will definitely return if i come back to denver, as i'm sure this restaurant will only get better and better with time. and i will definitely recommend it to my friends in san francisco who come visit. thanks to all of you who recommended this restaurant to me in my earlier post!

          4 Replies
          1. re: gtchow

            Fruition (http://www.fruitionrestaurant.com) just nabbed a mention & a photo of their Potato-Wrapped Oysters Rockefeller in the June Gourmet magazine. Nice to see them getting some national recognition already.

            The BBQ Pork Shoulder Confit (with cornbread, beans, and slaw) on the new spring menu is one of the best dishes I've had so far this year.

            1. re: rlm

              Fruition is one of two Colorado restaurants in Bon Appetit's September '07 Restaurant Issue (the other is Kelly Liken in Vail). Alex Seidel's recipe for Plum Tarte Tatin is featured.

              1. re: rlm

                I was going to mention this as well. However, my copy of Bon Apetit (subscription), was missing the page with the Fruition recipe. Pg 95 (or whatever page it was) wasn't in my magazine.

                I probably wouldn't try the recipe anyway, but I was looking to see the press on this newish restaurant.

                I will definitely eat here next time I am in Denver. It sounds wonderful.

                1. re: Booger

                  Ignore the Bon Appetit index which says page 94, it's on page 96.

          2. Went last night and was unimpressed. Service was not very good (we got there at 7:30 for our reservation and at 8:15 still did not have appetizers that we had ordered 30 minutes earlier. Our server seemed annoyed that we had asked about them). Food was fine but not memorable imho. Not worth the cab ride from downtown.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sfdoc

              This is the first predominately negative report I've heard thus far.

              What apps and entrees did you order and what was it about the particular dishes that failed to impress you? Were there execution problems in the kitchen or did the food just bore you?

            2. Hi, all. I wasn't able to use Chowhound very effectively on Opera Mini on my cellphone during an impromptu visit to Denver (I missed my connection to LaGuardia en route from SFO), but while I was on the Light Rail from Nine Mile, my brother checked this thread while I was on the phone to him. Thanks for helping me choose to go to Fruition on Saturday night. I had a great meal. Here's my report:

              My starter was an Heirloom Tomato Soup, which came with a sort of toasted cheese sandwich (I don't remember the name of the cheese, but it was a mild cheese that reminded me a bit of fior di latte) and some sprouts. (Mizuna sprouts? The dish isn't listed on the "Menu - Summer 2007" on Fruition's website, which doesn't actually include everything served there in the summertime.) The tomato soup was the main point of the dish, though, and it was a thoroughly pleasant cold-soup version of a very good tomato salad, without the oil-based dressing.

              My meal continued on an upward trajectory with Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast, Carnaroli Risotto, Grilled Arugula & Smoked Duck Prosciutto, Red Onion Marmalade. Grilling may have helped make the arugula very bitter, and I thought that the inclusion of such a very bitter green involved a risk to the restaurant but was a well-chosen accompaniment to the salty, savory duck breast; delicious, very flavorful duck prosciutto; lovely risotto; and truly unusual flavor of the sweet/savory red onion marmalade, which I could have stood to have had more of. I broke off pieces of bread to sop up the sauce still at the bottom of the plate after I finished eating all elements of this dish.

              But it was really the dessert that I considered most risky and most inspired. I ordered the Plum Financier with Honey-Ginger Yogurt and Pistachio Granola. The plums on the financier contained a bit of sourness, but the real risk was to include a frozen yogurt that actually had a sour yogurt taste along with a sweet honey taste and a genuinely very hot powdered ginger flavor. And let me add, for those who are unfamiliar with my standards for what real hotness means, that I spent two years in Malaysia, where a traditional saying is "If there's no chili, there's no taste," and ate and enjoyed almost everything spicy that I could get there. This was really hot, and it went together with the financier and the crunchy granola brilliantly.

              I was given tastes of two red wines by the glass -- O'Reilly's Pinot Noir, Saint Paul, Oregon, and another which is not on the wine list on Fruition's website but whose name started with "Mythique." Both were $12 a glass. I chose the Mythique, which I considered merely good and not great (as was the Pinot Noir, in my view), but which hit the spot after a long day of traveling and did cut through the duck pretty well.

              The total cost for the meal, including a tip of just under $12, was $69, certainly a fair value for a thoroughly enjoyable meal at a restaurant which dares to give expression to the creativity and originally of the chef, who I found out later in talking to the host, is co-owner. The man who had been acting as the host (who must have been Paul), and who I had suspected was more than that, is the co-owner who manages the front of the house, and he told me that he never has to worry about the kitchen, because he's working with such a great chef.

              By the way, for those of you who would like to get to Fruition from LoDo and lack a car, I found out that it is difficult if not impossible to successfully flag down a cab, but there are buses that stop somewhat closer to the restaurant (I took the 15 and walked 9 long avenue blocks from Colfax, but I saw that at least one bus goes down 6th Av.), and 6th Av. near Marion is a good leisurely walk from the Capitol and the mall on 16th Av. (about 2 miles, according to Google maps directions).

              Here's Fruition's website:

              http://www.fruitionrestaurant.com

              Go and enjoy!

              7 Replies
              1. re: Pan

                Thanks for the write-up. Denver's unfortunately the kind of town where you can't freely wander around any neighborhood in the hopes of easily flagging down a cab like you can in SF or NYC. Cabbies tend to just sit around outside major hotels in the hopes of a fare to DIA, so you could conceivably walk to The Westin or even Union Station or the like to find a cab. For the return trip, you should always ask the maître d' of the restaurant to phone for a cab for you, as that's quicker and less painful than hoping you'll find one on your own.

                1. re: rlm

                  The odd thing is that cabs with their lights on, presumably available, would not stop. However, the main point of my report is the good food that's available in Denver, and the other thing is just an add-on to help people get to Fruition from LoDo.

                  1. re: Pan

                    Pan, thanks again for the extensive review. I have been several times and haven't had any of the dishes you mentioned, so you've got me yearning for a return trip.

                    I've been here since '99 and had no idea "cruising cabs" were actually illegal. Seems silly. A few apparently are willing to break the law. (Or is it legal for them to pick you up on the street if they've just let others out of the cab before you jump in, as I've managed to get a cab in that fashion.)

                  2. re: rlm

                    I believe that cruising cabs are against current Denver regulations, which is why people either call for a cab or find one outside of a hotel rather than hailing them on the street, NY-style. I seem to have read something in the paper that the city is contemplating changing this before the 2008 Democratic Convention.

                    Meanwhile, the #15 bus from/to LoDo/downtown goes straight out Colfax Avenue. Service is every 10 minutes. The fare is $1.50 (exact change in bills and/or coins).
                    Go to www.rtd-denver.com for complete local and regional routes, schedules and fares.

                    1. re: ClaireWalter

                      Thanks for the review. It is kind of amazing that the Fruition space has been home to some great restaurants (Clair De Lune and Something Else.) I have not yet made it to Fruition but hope to very soon

                      And yes, it is illegal for cabs to pick people up on the street as in NYC or other cities. I am not sure why? I have found cabs are usually pretty prompt and reliable when you call to arrange a pick-up. Just an FYI - the Colfax bus won't help you get to Fruition.

                      1. re: ColoradoFun

                        Duh! You're right, of course, ColoradoFun. My dual excuses are that 1) I wrote that previous post BC (before coffee) and that 2) I was just at Cafe Star yesterday and had Colfax on the brain. It's the #12 that travels to downtown along Downing northbound and the #2 follows Corona southbound), which would be a much shorter walk. Not ideal or speedy, perhaps, but certainly doable.