After convincing my folks to drive from Cheyenne to Denver so I could shop for jeans, and ultimately buy a single pair, I felt that I had to find a nice place to take them to dinner to make the trip worth their while (after I vetoed a trip to Red Robin…). I started by looking near the mall, and found a couple of ok options, and we were about to go until I realized that we were only 15 minutes from Boulder and they have a pretty nice food scene. A quick UrbanSpoon search uncovered SALT, a restaurant that fit with all of the things I like…farm to table, contemporary American, seasonal, organic. It seemed like the perfect way to end our expedition down to Colorado.
I had called ahead for a reservation, but was told they were booked. Fortunately though, they only reserve a quarter of the restaurant and the rest is on a first come/first serve basis. As we drove by I jumped out of the car, told my folks to go park and headed in. It was a good thing that I did as I was seated immediately, but there were four other groups that followed me in the door and ended up having to wait. While I was waiting for my parents, I had a chance to look at the interesting drink menu. It was a sort of choose-your-own-adventure where you selected the liquor and then followed the path that allowed you to select different seasonal mixers and garnishes. Of course I didn’t go that route and went with the local beer. I’m a sucker for Colorado microbrews.
The seasonal menu was full of locally sourced products. Fruit and root vegetables and locally raised and sourced beef and pork. It all looked delicious, but I had to force myself to narrow it down. So I started with the honeycrisp apple salad. I was expecting some leafy greens with a couple slices of apple and some other accouterments. What appeared was a plate of thinly sliced apples, topped with cheese, almonds, a little celery and a very light honey vinaigrette. The apples were sweet and fresh and juicy and crunchy. The cheese added a bit of creaminess and a bit of saltiness and the almonds add the, well, nuttiness. It wasn’t what I expected…it was actually a bit better. At the same time, we ordered a steak tartare as well. I decided to not tell my dad what it was because I know his aversion to raw foods (I still haven’t gotten him to consider sushi). It was a nice dish with tender steak and a hit of saltiness from the tartare. Though it wasn’t served with any bread, which was unusual. And the egg wasn’t very prominent so it wasn’t as creamy as some of the tartares I’ve had before. But my folks enjoyed it, so that was all that matters.
After getting through our appetizers, and ordering my second Colorado beer, our entrees arrived. With all of the options, I went for the pork loin. A nice simple cut that shows off the ability of the chef because it’s so easy to over cook. And this was done very nicely, though maybe a slight touch past medium. It was very simply prepared, moist and delicious. There was a bit of spaetzle served with the pork that offered a nice, light, starchy addition to the overall dish. With the sauce there was a little sweetness and the greens had a little bit of bitterness to them bringing everything together nicely.
By the time I finished off my dinner I was fairly well stuffed. Well, my dinner and a bunch of my dad’s fries as he decided to go with the all starch dinner of potato soup and hand cut fries. What’s interesting is that the fine folks at Salt understand this happens and offer a tasty bite for a dessert. It’s literally a two-bite sweet dish that is a great way to end the meal. And on this night it was a very nice, slightly tart lime triangle. Coupled with a nice coffee cocktail, I was set. I settled back into my seat, engaged in conversation with my folks as they enjoyed their beautifully presented desserts.
Salt was a great way to cap off our excursion down to Denver, and made me feel a little better about schlepping my parents along with me for a little jeans shopping. And as we were walking back to the car I noticed a lot of interesting looking places…Boulder definitely has what looks like a great food scene in a great college town. I could definitely see myself spending some time there.