Truffles — the underground fungus kind, not the chocolates — in Colorado?
Precious black truffles (Pinterest image)
I received the following E-mail from reader Jim F:
“Hi, I have never had truffles and went searching for a source of a really nice meal (I’m retired now and would like to try it once before…) Your culinary-colorado.com site had a reference to truffles (May.2013) and I was wondering if you could help me find a well prepared, tasty meal – in Colorado. I have no means to judge one chef from another and am reluctant to spend the money for something (of unknown quality) and try to do it myself. Thanks for your time.”
Here’s my answer: Truffles are pricey, so only high-end restaurants ever have them on the menu, and then they are seasonal. These restaurants are known for exquisite cuisine, immaculately prepared by top chefs. Still, if you have always wanted to try them, perhaps one blow-out, special dinner is called for. In other words, you can’t really go wrong at any of these. For my part, I always have a jar of truffle salt in my kitchen. I use it for any recipe that calls for cooked mushrooms. Below are a few Front Range truffle options. Top restaurants in mountain resorts towns are also good places to check.
Arguably the best known in Denver is Barolo Grill, which puts on an annual truffle fest during the first half of November. Click here for woman-about-town Penny Parker’s post about this year’s event, which featured a $135, five-course feast. To late for 2013, but there will presumably be another next year.
The Palace Arms, the Brown Palace Hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, is offering an $85 four-course tasting menu that includes an entrée called “Palace Arms Rossini,” a 7-ounce filet mignon and a 7-ounce cut of bison with truffle, foie gras, brioche, Madeira and Swiss chard. As of today, that menu is still online.
In Boulder, the extraordinary Flagstaff House menu lists a $74 buffalo filet mignon and foie gras “Wellington.” This complex dish baked in brioche is composed of Avery stout-braised buffalo short rib,s braised mushrooms, summer squash, English peas and a black truffle sauce.One option is Colorado lamb rack, loin and braised lamb shank with white truffle-infused heirloom polenta, ratatouille vegetables, goat cheese and lamb jus for $68 or 7x Ranch’s Colorado Wagyu New York strip with twice-baked potatoes, cipollini onions, asparagus and a sauce of black truffle for $18 per ounce with a 3-ounce minimum.
If you are of a mind to travel south to Colorado Springs, The Broadmoor’s Penrose Room has what I believe to be a current tasting menu (3 courses, $78 or four courses including two appetizers, $88) with Angus beef tenderloin, pomme purée, Tomme de Savoie cheese, bone marrow and Brussels sprouts as one of the entrée selections prepared Rossini-style with seared foie gras and black truffle available for an additional $16.