"You know what they call French food in Paris?" the chef asked, repeating his shtick.
"What, chef?" I responded, my fingers sore and shredded from peeling hard-boiled eggs under tap water, my brain numbed from hours of prep. I'd heard the question before, as well as the answer, but that didn't matter. This was the way he taught --something about it almost like a Zen koan.
"Food. They just call it food."
This was what I had in mind during all my meals at Brasserie Felix, which I review this week -- how French food, though looked on as so fancy and so rigorous and so ineffably foreign, could sometimes just be food. Just lunch. How, in France, eating French food is the same as eating cheeseburgers or mac-and-cheese here.
But finally, French food is losing some of its high-end haute in Denver.
Downscale, French-inspired restaurants doing simple bistro and brasserie cuisine for those who love nothing more are suddenly springing up across town. This week's Bite Me is all about those kinds of places -- from Le Central to Z Cuisine to Indulge.
And in Second Helping, I make a trip back to Aix -- a restaurant that won our Best Taste of Provence in the Best of Denver 2007, but has now thrown off the mantle of French cuisine entirely for a more modern, American approach to an upscale neighborhood restaurant. -- Jason Sheehan