Word of Mouth

Two great dishes from the Fabrizio Iuli wine dinner at Oak at Fourteenth

It was negative six degrees in Boulder two nights ago, but that didn't stop anyone from heading over to Oak at Fourteenth for the Fabrizio Iuli wine dinner, a five-course tasting event paired with all-organic wines from Piedmont. The place was packed when we bellied up to the bar, and after a cocktail, we sampled a couple of courses.

The first was the Petaluma chicken liver pate. Chef Steve Redzikowski pan-seared chicken livers, then mixed them with ricotta cheese, specked with shallots and capers for bite and salt, and whipped them until the texture was ethereally smooth. The decadent result was spread across fluffy, mild gougeres with crisp, golden edges. We could have eaten a whole platterful, and we were delighted when co-owner and master mixologist Bryan Dayton told us that Redzikowski was toying with putting them on the menu. We hope he also adds the Fabrizio Iuli Pinot Nero to the beverage list, because the light-bodied wine, which displayed both Burgundian earthiness and red cherry, was a perfect accompaniment.

We also savored that vino with the crisp pork belly, which had been braised until it was about to fall apart, yielding a satisfying crack on our teeth and then melting in our mouths and leaving a hint of cardamom in its wake. The sweet and spicy ginger-carrot reduction it came plated with played nicely with the velvety meat.

We're hoping both dishes become permanent fixtures.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk