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Z Whiz

This bistro is a beauty.

I return again and again to Z Cuisine, sometimes with my book and sometimes with friends. I come here to clear my culinary conscience and to experience a half-dozen small miracles of transfiguration on any given night. It's like church without all the kneeling. I eat beet carpaccio made from the sweetly sour vegetables I would have died before eating as a child; devour croque Parisienne stacked with thick-sliced ham and raclette and a fried egg, served open-faced on dense, warm, eggy bread with a forgettable field-green salad on the side. The crepes are the only thing I don't worship, the Nutella tasting gritty and sour, the bittersweet chocolate too chalky for my taste, but with a good sliced banana. The addictive tarte tatin fills a tart shell with folded, soft slices of apple capped with a poached half-apple, then honey-sweet ice cream and a warm, brandied caramel sauce. And the puréed potato soup with lemongrass and thyme is so good as to be nearly indescribable; if you're lucky enough to come in on a night when Dupays has it on the board, order it by the gallon and carry the extra home cupped in your hands if you have to.

Left Bank on it: Z Cuisine is small but mighty.
Mark Manger
Left Bank on it: Z Cuisine is small but mighty.

Location Info

Map

Z Cuisine

2239 W. 30th Ave.
Denver, CO 80211

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: Northwest Denver

Details

2239 West 30th Avenue, 303-477-1111. Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday- Saturday

Cassoulet: $16
Beet carpaccio: $8.50
Crepes: $6
Soup: $6
Croque Parisienne: $9.50
Assiette: $15
Tarte tatin: $6

For me, this warm little bistro is like a perfect fantasy of Paris, requiring no passport, no baggage, no feigned appreciation of the films of Jerry Lewis or Gerard Depardieu. I love the old iron gate hanging open by the front door, the fact that there's nothing else on this quiet dog end of West 30th Avenue save for a few old houses and a dark, silent church looming against the night sky. The only things missing from Z Cuisine are the Gauloises-smoking French, the pall of their yellow cigarette smoke hanging around the high ceiling, and the bells tolling the hour as it grows later and later.

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