If you ask Lawrence Yee whether he's had it up to his crown with the construction mess at the Beauvallon, whose barrage of scaffolding nearly blocks the front door of his new restaurant, Japoix, he'll accentuate the positive. "I have a lot of confidence that after the Beauvallon is finished with construction, and the retail tenants move back in, that everything will be fantastic." Spoken like a true optimist, Yee, along with exec chef Jay Spickelmier, who previously worked in the kitchen at Jing, the upscale Greenwood Village Chinese restaurant Yee managed until he left to do his own thing, opens Japoix today in the former Nine75 space at 975 Lincoln Street after a series of soft dinners for friends and family. "We wanted to ease into the opening to make sure that we worked out a few kinks," says Yee. "After the soft opening, we took a step back, looked at where we could improve, made a few adjustment with the menu and service and now we're ready to roll."
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Japoix's menu, which Spickelmier describes as French-Asian -- but not fusion -- mingles sushi and sandwiches and salads with a short board of fish, chicken and duck plates and hot rocks, smoldering granite stones that sear meats (and whatever else you want to toss on the surface) in a matter of seconds. "We call it interactive global cuisine," says Spickelmier. "The hot rocks are a signature item of ours, and they're perfect for a shared dining experience, which is what we're really all about here." The raw meats -- lamb sirloin, Prime New York strip and filet and Wagyu Kobe rib-eye -- are served with sliced pineapple, rings of peppers and a pickled salad.
"Our menu is definitely a mix of classic French influences and Asian cuisines, particularly Japanese, and the element of using the hot rocks gives it an interesting twist and engages people to have fun with their food," explains Spickelmier, who will eventually add Asian noodle dishes -- specifically a duck confit noodle bowl and Brazilian lobster tail udon bowl with miso broth -- to the line-up. "We'll slowly add a few new things to the menu, but it's important to us to keep at level where we can produce great food on a consistent basis."
The restaurant, whose interior is a sleek, clean slate of garnet, espresso and ivory hues accented by splashy modern art -- all of it local -- banquettes, a narrow hallway of intimate deuces and a community table (a holdover from Nine75), is open for lunch and dinner daily, as well as for happy hour, of which there are two: 3 to 6:30 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. to close, both in the cosmopolitan back lounge. "We want this to be a palce where you can come in early and have a cocktail with friends, have dinner with a date and retire to the lounge when it gets late," says Yee.
For more information about Japoix, call 303-861-2345, or go to www.japoix.com