There are places where we eat, and then there are places where we dine. Chef Alex Seidel's restaurant Fruition on Sixth Avenue in Denver is a place for dining. Fruition is one of those culinary meccas where dining can be a truly sublime dining experience, as the preparation and serving of food is elevated to an art form. My wife and I visited Fruition on Friday to celebrate Winter Break and start the holiday season. It was a rather brisk, damp evening, but our hearts were quickly warmed by the atmosphere of Fruition. From the moment we entered the cozy little place on Sixth, we felt like we had simply stopped by Seidel's house for dinner. The hostess and staff were friendly and welcoming.
We began the meal with a couple of starters - the butternut squash bisque with duck confit and the Monteray Bay squid with salt cod fritters. The soup was rich with a fascinating blend of flavors from the duck and pears, while the squid was delicate and beautifully accented by a marmalade. The squid ink was a unique flavor that made for a wonderful varied appetizer. Of course, our kids couldn't get enough of the whole wheat bread and butter with sea salt and herbs. For dinner, we ordered the pork tenderloin, the black olive crusted sole, and the grilled bavette steak. Everything was done to perfection, as the dishes were accented by multiple flavors, from the Maine lobster fondue to the braised short-rib daube. My son was in heaven with the short ribs, and our waitress told it had been braised for eighteen hours. It was practically butter by the time it reached our table.
We also enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine - a Lirac from Rhone, France and a Spanish Rioja. Both wines were rich on the nose and palate, though I was partial to the full body of the Lirac. Either one would go well with the meats and fish. And that sort of symmetry is what makes a place like Fruition so special. We eat to survive, but we dine to live. And Chef Seidel is a true artisan in the kitchen. I also appreciate his attention to the craft of raising food, as Fruition also maintains a farm down near Larkspur. Seidel is so attuned to the farm-to-table concept that all staff work at least one day a week on the farm. That dedication is what creates such a wonderful experience at Fruition.
For dessert and coffee, we enjoyed the French press along with the bourbon pecan pie a la mode and the Vahlrona chocolate brownie. While the flavors were rich and developed, I do think the crust on the pie was a bit stiff. It probably resulted from the richness of the caramel-like pie filling. And that's my only criticism. The coffee was rich as well, and that's an important finishing touch, for far too often we are disappointed by the pedestrian nature of the coffee at nice restaurants. Fruition, however, did not disappoint.
* This post is a re-print from my other blog; published Dec of 2014