Chef Duy Pham hasn't seen much action in Denver of late, choosing instead to share his talents outside of town. In 2014, Pham, who gained notice as the 22-year-old executive chef of Tante Louise more than twenty years ago, opened Parker Garage in Parker with partners Meghan Gold and Brent Walker. But the chef is back in Denver, opening a combination restaurant and high-end knife shop called For[a]ged with Gold and Walker.
You'll see some of the Japanese-style blades for sale as you walk past a display case in the restaurant's foyer; more decorate the wall behind the mezzanine sushi bar. Pham is not only an accomplished chef, but he's also a Murray Carter Journeyman Bladesmith, so some of the knives for sale are made by Pham himself, while others were forged by artisans in the U.S. and Japan, with handles designed and built by Pham. While he's only been making knives for a few years, he's already sold one to celebrity restaurateur Daniel Boulud, explaining to him in the process that he's an even better cook than bladesmith. Just be sure to bring your platinum card; some of the knives run into the thousands of dollars and feature materials like fossilized mammoth tusk in the handles.
The restaurant itself is sleek and austere, with black and white as the primary color scheme. A menu created by Pham and executive chef Jacob Lechner straddles the line between steakhouse opulence and New American experimentation, with a $40 New York strip and a $90 ribeye (it's 32 ounces, though) topping an entree list that also includes rare duck done Moroccan style and lamb two ways. The upstairs sushi bar shows off Pham's penchant for quality seafood, expertly prepared sushi rice and subtle flavor combinations. You can order à la carte or reserve a seat at the counter for an omakase experience in which you can sample the best fish on offer.
Pham's twenty-year-old son, Brenan, also works in the kitchen at For[a]ged; you might spot him slicing fish at the raw bar. Other highlights of the eatery include exclusive wines from Boulder native Jesse Katz's Devil Proof Vineyards, a private dining room that seats forty, and private events menus for groups of up to 250 people.
For[a]ged is located at 1825 Blake Street, on the Dairy Block, and is now open for lunch and dinner beginning at 11 a.m. daily. Call 720-826-2147 or visit foragedrestaurant.com for details and reservations.
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