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Fishing for Compliments

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On September 5, assorted chefs from the Oceanaire Seafood Room restaurants will offer up the Ultimate Seafood Experience at the James Beard House in New York City – and Matt Mine, chef at Denver’s Oceanaire that opened just a month ago at 1400 Arapahoe Street, will be among them.

On Wednesday, he debuted the six courses he cooked up that are in contention for the Ultimate menu, which will be chosen on Monday. “I was trying to get a lot of regional and seasonal products,” he said, which explains the Colorado peach tart and the corn in the lobster and summer vegetable confit (call it succotash) that came with the pan-seared Alaska halibut. But there wasn’t a trout in sight, and the best dish involved a fish very out of water in this state: pan-fried skate in a veal reduction, with escargot, arugula pesto and some inexplicable fava beans.

Sadly, the chicken-fried oysters with homemade sausage gravy appetizer that Mine cooked up for Oceanaire’s Denver menu aren’t being submitted for the Beard dinner – but then, New York foodies probably aren’t ready for such greasy goodness. – Patricia Calhoun

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