Earlier this year, Gretchen Kurtz reviewed Palettes, the Kevin Taylor-run restaurant in the Denver Art Musem. At the time of her visits, the menu included selections created by executive chef Austin Cueto inspired by the Modern Masters exhibit at the DAM. This month, Cueto is applying his creative skills to a new prix fixe menu that takes its cues from Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century, an exhibition of jewelry, watches and other pricy baubles created by Cartier between 1900 and 1975.
The exhibit opened yesterday and runs through March 15, so the menu will be available during that time too. While the jewelry of Cartier may be out of reach for most of us, the bright colors and playful combinations of the three-course prix fixe meny are available for $32 per person (or $50 with wine pairings); the dishes can also be purchased a la carte. "Not only will you find inspiring flavor combinations," says Cueteo, "but ingredients are paired together by also taking into account the manner in which their color plays off of their accompanying ingredients."
Ingredients play off of words as well as the rare materials used to construct the jewelry: Carrots are used as a riff on "carats," while pomegranate seeds stand in for rubies. Golden beets in a salad capture the hue of the gold jewelry and a sugar-crusted chocolate dessert emulates the sparkle of diamonds. The dishes contain classic French touches -- Brillat-Savarin cheese, artichoke barigoule and takes on traditional sauces -- to emphasize Cartier's French origins. Even if you can't wear the jewelry home, the DAM will let you eat Cartier-inspired cake.
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