"Denver residents who have been to one of the six restaurants and bars run by Frank Bonnano would most likely agree that the experience means good food and service to match. With Lou's Food Bar, which opened late last year, the 43-year-old chef has broadened his repertory with an American rendition of a French bistro that has quickly helped to add more followers to his already loyal customer base." That's the start of an August 19 Restaurant Report in the New York Times that gives a lot of love to Lou's Food Bar -- even if it misspells the name of owner Frank Bonanno.
Bonanno, whose empire started with Mizuna and now includes Luca D'Italia, Bones and Osteria Marco and Green Russell (not sure which was the sixth restaurant cited by the Times, although there was that ill-fated steakhouse on East 17th Avenue, right next to that ill-fated taqueria...), opened Lou's in the former Ron & Dan's Keg last December and quickly won fans with both the low-key atmosphere and the upscaled comfort food.
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Here's more from the Times:
The chef pays special attention to appetizers: there are nine choices of house-cured charcuterie and almost a dozen varieties of house-made sausages, including Thai duck and venison Cheddar. The culinary team also gets its cow, sheep and goat milk from local farms, and makes the most of its cheeses -- including blue, Gorgonzola and chèvre.
Much of the rest of the menu focuses on a combination of hearty portions of American comfort food and French classics, like fried organic chicken with whipped potatoes, meatloaf, and hanger steak with frites. Instead of reinterpreting these favorites the way many chefs do, Mr. Bonnano successfully stays true to the original versions. A basic roast chicken, for example, was as tender as it gets, with a crispy, golden, herb-crusted skin. Though the mussels La Cagouille were seasoned with only salt, pepper and butter, each bite popped with flavor.
"Unlike my other restaurants, which tend to be special-occasion places and where the cooking is complex, I tried to make the menu at Lou's simple and approachable," Mr. Bonnano said. "It's the kind of food my family and I like to eat every day."
And so, apparently, does the Times. But reporters there need to remember that it's B-O-N-A-N-N-O -- because we're sure they'll be writing about this Denver restaurateur again.