Popular Larimer Square eatery’s winter menu hits another culinary high note
Year after year, season after season, Rioja partner/chef Jennifer Jasinski and her kitchen cohorts put together dishes that remind me of a fine symphony but with tastes rather than sounds that are harmonious yet contrasting, beautiful and creative, and always pulled together from disparate elements ina way where the whole is better than the sum of its parts. The Winter 2013 menu, which I happily sampled last night, is yet another example of culinary creativity assembled by the gifted and amiable chef whom I consider the Belle of Larimer Square.
Price Check: “Delicious Beginnings,” $7.50-$14.50 (plus $16.50 “picnic”); entrees, $18.50-$29; “Chef Jenn’s Handmade Pastas,” $9.50-$12.50 for appetizer size and $18.50-$24.50 for entree size; desserts, $8 (plus one item for $14.50).
For a pre-Valentine splurge, visit Rioja for a dinner based on Jennifer Jasinski’s new cookbook
Jennifer Jasinski is a multi-talent. She is not only an award-winning chef and partner in three popular Larimer Square restaurants (Rioja, Bistro Vendome and Euclid Hall), but she is also a cookbook author. She wrote The Perfect Bite, which came out just a couple of months ago and is 184 beautiful pages of great food photos, recipes, inside secrets and her own tips. She’s preparing a dinner from it on Wednesday, February 2, beginning at 6:00 p.m., at Rioja, the first of the restaurants that she now partners in.
This multi-course feast is pricey ($150 per person), but that does include the gratuity, tax and a copy of The Perfect Bite. Maybe she’ll even find time to autograph it for you. Jasinki’s partner Beth Gruitch is also a wine expert, and she’s picking some of her favorites to pair with each course. I think of this not as just another “dinner” but as a special occasion. How about doing it as a pre-Valentine feast with your honey?
February 2 Cookbook Dinner
• Libation – Pomeginger cocktail (pomegranate purée, house made ginger syrup, vodka, sweet and sour, splash of soda) • Amuse – Vodka orange salmon tartare, crispy fennel-cream cheese pillows, orange gastrique • Soup • Cauliflower-Fuji apple soup, almond-herb salad
• Salad – Roasted beet salad, cucumber-mint vinaigrette, pickled red onion, Haystack Farms Snowdrop cheese
• Risotto – Fennel and Mascarpone lobster risotto
• Fish – Seared tuna, tomato broth, house-made sausage- stuffed calamari and arugula
• Entrée – Braised short ribs, parsnip purée, bacon Brussels sprout “hash”
• Dessert – Duet of Meyer lemon cheesecake and fig beignets with fig port syrup
For reservations, call Rioja at 303-820-2282. The restaurant is at 1431 Larimer Square, Denver.
Claire Walter's Colorado-oriented but not Colorado-exclusive blog about restaurants, food and wine events, recipes and related news.