Denver - Trillium Report
I've been enjoying happy hour at Trillium for a while and finally made it for a full dinner last week. This is a deceptively ambitious restaurant that strikes a nearly perfect balance between uptown polish and Lodo casual. Many of the Scandinavian-influenced menu items are unique and well executed, the bartenders are bona fide cocktail pros, and the service is flawless. Menu highlights include:
*Any of the cocktails (seriously, these guys are as good as any cocktailian bartenders I've encountered in Denver, although I prefer to go with something classic rather than ordering off the menu since their "creative" selections seem a bit convoluted to me);
*The aquavit cured salmon and fried fish (either smelts or walleye pike) from the smorgasbord menu (the ham mousse, terrine, and pickled shrimp are also quite good but not on the same level as these two dishes);
*The raaka (sort of a Scandinavian salmon tartare spiked with horseradish) from the small plates section of the menu;
*The grilled whitefish with mashed potatoes and beet puree.
FWIW, we had dinner at Frasca and Trillium on consecutive nights last week and both of us liked Trillium more, and it was a little more than half the price of Frasca. I realize this is a bit of an apples to oranges comparison, but if sheer enjoyment is the proper metric Trillium definitely won the day.
rcurtism, thanks for the post. My wife and I went for an early dinner at Trillium a couple weeks back and thought it was outstanding! There's just nothing like it in Denver (at least not that I know of) yet and I'm happy to see food like this coming to Denver.
Just like you, we ordered the fried smelt & aquavit salmon. I LOVED the fried smelt (just wish it were the whole thing) and the aquvit salmon was very nice. We also ordered the Toast Skagen, portobello fries & the cured rainbow trout. The cured trout was outstanding - I actually think it was better than the aquavit salmon. The portabello fries were nicely cooked (not too greasy and the portabello was cooked all the way through) but the highlight of these 3 additional dishes was the Toast Skaagen. It was an extremely generous portion of shrimp (rock shrimp?), nicely cooked and seasoned/dressed. If I had one complaint, it would be that the rye toasts are heavily buttered but if I'm eating out, I know it's going to be rich.
We tried 3 of the flavored aquavits - definitely something that you'd probably have to be "used to" in order to properly enjoy. We liked them but sounds like an aquavit cocktails would be a good intro for aquavit. Maybe next time.
Before we left, I was chatting with who I think may have been the GM about the food and business and he mentioned & touted their brunch menu, most notably their Vanilla Cardamom French Toast which has a blue cheese ice cream served over the top. He was nice enough to bring out a small ramekin on the ice cream and I'll tell you, it was inventive. I've never had blue cheese ice cream and while you'd think it would be too strong, it was actually really nice (not too strong & not too sweet).
Makes me want to head over there again in the next month or so. . .
Thanks for the recommendation for the rainbow trout - I will probably be back next week and will be sure to give that a try. We also really enjoyed the Toast Skagen - if I had one minor complaint, I would have liked to see a little more salmon roe on the plate, since that added an extra layer of flavor (and color) that really elevated the dish, but our serving only included a few grains of the roe.