By Philip Poston
By Jonathan Shikes
By Noah Reynolds
By Gretchen Kurtz
By Kate Gibbson
By Cafe Society
By Samantha Alviani
By Patricia Calhoun
"Once I'm comfortable that everyone is up there, that everyone is there with me, then..." His voice trailed off.
"Then what?" I asked.
2401 15th St., #80
Denver, CO 80202
Region: Downtown Denver
"I'll tell you when we get there."
All in good time.
Fairy tale of New York: I spent a couple of days last week back in Manhattan having meetings and tracking the snail-like progression of my book, Whiskey Down, through the corridors of the publishing industry. Since the memoir-slash-confessional deals primarily with the years I spent as a no-account hash slinger and mercenary station chef, talking about it with a room full of civilians served to remind me (yet again) that while I may love chefs, their work, their lives and their language, not everyone else in the world does. There were moments, while discussing some particularly colorful scene or event from my own checkered past (like the door-to-door drug-delivery system in Florida kitchens or the guy I knew who fucked a chicken to death on a bet), when I was looked at like a strange dog who'd wandered into the office, sat down and started speaking French.
Still, while all of this cost me a few valuable days' worth of eating time in Denver, it also afforded me the opportunity to finally get my long-time-coming dinner at Le Bernardin.
I got to meet (albeit briefly) Le Bernardin's chef, Eric Ripert. I got to toss away the menu and have the kitchen just cook for me — whatever the chef chose, whatever was best that night. Me, my buddy East Coast Dave and his fiancée, Nikki, spent four hours having what was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that, immediately afterward, I wanted to repeat all over again.
Which simply means that my book had better make me fucking ridiculously rich and famous. Because now that I've had Le Bernardin's sweet prawn-stuffed calamari, now that I've had the monkfish with truffled potato emulsion and lobster with sauce gribiche, I only want it more. I need to be in a position where I can just make a reservation, jump on a plane and be there in time for dinner, say, three nights a week.
At this point, living any other way would simply be preposterous.
For those of you interested in a full run-down on my dinner with Eric (and Dave and Nikki), it's on our brand-spankin'-new dedicated food blog, Cafe Society, which can now be found right on the front page of our website, www.westword.com. While my From the Gut blog has been up and running for some time now, Cafe finally has its own little piece of real estate. A crash pad for gastronauts, Cafe Society is a place where Denver's food-obsessed can rub shoulders and catch up on the latest industry news and gossip or just screechy, ranting weirdness from yours truly. And I figure that a long piece about a long dinner at one of the greatest restaurants on the planet should kick things off nicely.
Leftovers: Barring any construction problems, Delite — the expansion of Deluxe, chef/owner Dylan Moore's restaurant at 30 South Broadway — is slated to open on May 14. Scott Durrah, chef/owner of 8 Rivers Cafe (3609 West 32nd Avenue), is in an expansive mood, too. He's opening a second restaurant, at 1550 Blake Street, probably by mid-July.