Global Cuisine

Short Stop: Creative French Fare at Brasserie Brixton

Molly Martin
The summer squash won't be around much longer.
Denver's dining scene is making a big comeback — and we're hungering to go out. With so many new ventures and old favorites to visit after more than a year of restaurant shutdowns and restrictions, the choices can be overwhelming. So we're serving up Short Stop, with recommendations for things that should definitely be on your culinary short list. This week, head to Brasserie Brixton, a neighborhood eatery with creative French dishes.

What: Brasserie Brixton

Where: 3701 Williams Street

When: Open 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

For more info: Visit
click to enlarge Not pictured: the patio tables that are now available for outdoor dining at Brasserie Brixton. - MARK ANTONATION
Not pictured: the patio tables that are now available for outdoor dining at Brasserie Brixton.
Mark Antonation
The place: A few tables sit in front of the deep-blue building that's home to Brasserie Brixton — a pandemic-era addition to the Cole neighborhood eatery, which has faced some big challenges since opening in July 2020 amid COVID-related restrictions.

In fact, after operating for only six months, the French restaurant fully transformed itself into (Le) Brix, a pizzeria specializing in square, wood-fired pies. The move was made after indoor dining was shut down in November 2020 for a second time; pizza proved to be a pandemic favorite for people craving comfort in the coldest months of the year. But this past March, Brasserie Brixton returned to its intended form, as a neighborhood eatery serving French food, but with a focus on remaining affordable and creative.

Brasserie Brixton is the type of restaurant that people often complain Denver doesn't have enough of. And it's true. Neighborhood spots making high-quality, interesting food at accessible prices that make it possible to be a regular are tough to come by.

While opening a French eatery in a historically Hispanic and Black neighborhood is a move that could spark talk of gentrification, it's also refreshing to see an independent restaurant that's pushing Denver's culinary scene forward instead of, say, another In-N-Out or Shake Shack. And on the heels of news that celebrity chef Ludo Lefebvre will open a traditional French brasserie in a LoDo hotel later this year, it seemed time to check in with this locally owned spot rooted in French traditions that's not afraid to put its own twist on the classics.
click to enlarge The tartare is a must-try, even if you're skeptical about raw beef. - MOLLY MARTIN
The tartare is a must-try, even if you're skeptical about raw beef.
Molly Martin
What you're eating: The menu changes regularly, though there are a few staples — including the French onion soup-inspired burger with Gruyère ($17) and the actual French onion soup ($9), which is distinctly sweet thanks to the deeply caramelized onions.

The options are organized with smaller, shareable plates on top and larger, entree-sized dishes on the bottom. Though you certainly could drop a couple hundred on a meal for two plus a bottle of wine, it's also possible to have a great meal closer to the $30-per-person range — especially if you stick with pours of the tap wine for $7 a glass.

Having a hard time deciding? Start with some bread ($7) or, more specifically, a baguette with an orb of super-creamy butter. It's not complex, but it pairs perfectly with a glass of orange wine or a cocktail like the Paris Sour with rye, cognac, hibiscus, red wine and lemon.

After that, a mix-and-match order of small plates is a great way to get a sense of Brasserie Brixton's ability to highlight ingredients in simple ways while still hitting you with unexpected flavors.

The tender and charred baby summer squash ($15) is served with a smattering of crisp green beans and crunchy marcona almonds on a bed of ultra-creamy ricotta. The kicker, though, is a pool of red-hued vinaigrette made with nduja, a spicy and spreadable salami.

That dish, paired with the tartare ($18), makes for a filling and fun meal. And if you find tartare a bit off- putting, this version will make you reconsider. Here, the finely chopped beef (yes, it's raw, but stick with me) is paired with thinly sliced radish, pieces of tender turnip and slightly chewy pieces of fried dough, or Chinese doughnut. The whole thing is drizzled with spicy chile, resulting in an exciting mix of flavors and textures that have me still craving this tartare.

If you're a dessert person, finish with ricotta doughnuts served with miso caramel ($12).

Next time, I want to splurge on the duck ($31) and whatever new veggies are making an appearance. And with any luck, next time isn't too far away.