January is a slow time of year for many restaurants, as potential customers attempt to recover from holiday overindulging and overspending. That's just fine with Z Cuisine owner and chef Patrick DuPays; it gives him a little time to give the kitchen a good overhaul and to make some long-planned changes to the dining room. While Z is now closed so that he can accomplish that, À Coté two doors down is still open and serving the restaurant's full menu -- and DuPays says he's not in a rush to reopen the main restaurant. "I'm still French," he explains. "I'm taking my time to do things."
One major change for Z Cuisine will be a host's table that will seat up to twenty people, something that guests have been asking for for years. "We've been saying no to people for so long," notes DuPays, "that they say, 'What's up with the attitude?' But it's not attitude, it's just the way things are." The space is cozy as is, so those who have been to the tiny French restaurant may wonder where the extra room will come from -- but that will be part of the reveal once Z Cuisine reopens.
Another reason DuPays prefers to close Z Cuisine in the dead of winter is to stay closer to his goals of sourcing local and organic produce. "If you want to be true to local and organic in Denver, I'm afraid that it's difficult to be true to that in the winter," he admits. The kitchen still sources locally in the winter wherever possible (right now, that means onions, potatoes, carrots, apples and greenhouse arugula) and purchases other produce from Grower's Organic.
"I am going to concentrate on quality over quantity," he adds, noting that the menus for Z Cuisine and a Cote will merge, allowing customers at both spots to order favorites from both sides.
And that menu will continue to include the foie gras terrine, which DuPays says has remained unchanged since the eatery opened. The kitchen has sourced the fatty duck liver from Hudson Valley Foie Gras -- a farm respected for its humane treatment of ducks and geese -- for the past decade. "I've been working with them for ten years," the restaurateur explains. "They know chefs don't want to be associated with anything cruel."
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Although an exact date hasn't been set for the reopening of Z Cuisine, we'll have updates and photos once the bistrot is back in business.