Mizuna Saturday Night
Barb and I headed out to Mizuna in Denver where the chef Frank Bonanno is one of Denver's premier chef's. I had heard a lot of wonderful things about this restaurant and about the chef so I was looking forward to a great meal and neither Barb nor myself were disappointed.
I was a bit worried heading out that parking may be a problem but upon arrival they provide free valet parking which is very nice as the restaurant itself is located in an area where the parking is pretty limited. Looking in from the outside Mizuna looks to be just a normal neighborhood restaurant but upon entering that all changes from the warm greeting at the door and wonderful smells wafting out to the wine bottles hung on the wall that almost seem like a piece of art in themselves. Mizuna is broken into two rooms the main room that you first enter with a semi open kitchen and a smaller room offset to the right which is where we were sat. Perhaps the only down point of this restaurant that we ran into was the tables are a bit close and you can not help but hear and be overheard as you have your conversations. The night we went the air condition was out in the area where we were seated so it was a bit warm but not to terribly hot.
The menu at Mizuna changes monthly to take advantage of the freshest ingredients and everything on it looked tempting. They do however offer a tasting menu and Barb and I both love that experience, so off we went. They started us out with bread - both a white and an olive.
They were very fresh and soft inside with a nice crisp crust. Three different butters were included an herb, a honey, and a sea salt butter. I really enjoyed the herb and especially the honey but the salted butted was a bit much, especially when paired with the olive bread.
Next was our first course and this we both liked very much as what they did was a bit unique they brought out a plate with 5 different items each about a bite or 2 each.
I am going to work from right to left on the descriptions of these. 1a. Himachi with radish and a chip underneath. This had a nice citrus flavor and the combined texture of the soft Himachi and the crispy chip was a definite pleaser. 1b. A Lobster Bisque shooter. This was served warm with a wonderfully rich lobster taste and a bit of a spicy kick you felt at the end, and as an extra a nice chunk of lobster on the bottom. 1c. Bison Tartar. This had a nice texture and a fine taste but really did not leave an impression at all. 1d. Lamb with goat cheese and olive on a soft cracker. Barbara really enjoyed this and I thought it was pretty good the flavors were bold and rich but the olive for me threw it off a bit. 1.e. Shrimp wrapped in pancetta this was my favorite of the five the shrimp was very well cooked and the wrapping just added to the great flavor, Barb however has a strong dislike for anything that is "chewy" and this felt a bit chewy for her though she did enjoy the taste of it.
Our Next course out was Heirloom Tomato Soup and on the side Dungeness Crab with Caviar on Pumpernickel bread.
The heirloom tomato soup was YUM YUMMM. Ok, I know there goes the "yum" thing again and be prepared for more later, but it just fits. I am used to tomato soup being very rich with milk and cream and served hot on a winter’s day so when this came out on a hot Saturday night I was not very excited to see it, but then I tasted it. I am not sure how best to describe it but to me it truly tasted like I had just bitten into a garden fresh tomato. The flavors were spot on and it was served cool - I of course ate ever last bit of it. Barb was not as big of a fan as she does enjoy a hot soup more than a cool one but both of us agreed the flavors were great. The crab on the pumpernickel Barb loved. It had a nice crab taste and the pumpernickel just added the little bit of offset to make it very memorable.
Our next course was a house made Carrabelle Pasta with Rabbit and Fava beans. I have to get this over with before I go any further "OMG YUM!"
Barb and I have been to some pretty good restaurants in the last year or so and up till tonight the best rabbit we have had was at restaurant Daniel in NYC but this my friends beat it and by a decent margin I would say. From the incredible savory rich sauce to the well made noodles and the crisp fava beans this dish was a home run and the only 10 we have given a dish here in Colorado.
Our next course was Bass with Celery Risotto. The green sauce you see is a Green Onion Vinaigrette. And the fish was topped with morel mushrooms.
The fish was cooked beautifully, a crispy skin with the inside being very flaky. The taste was very good and not very fishy at all and the vinaigrette added a nice overall flavor with the risotto adding another fresh tasting flavor. This combined very well with the overall dish.
Next came a Honeydew Melon Sorbet with a Honey Dew Melon Spritzer.
Normally I find sorbet courses in general to be a bit blah but this had a fantastic taste that made you feel it was frozen honeydew melon not just an ice with honey dew flavors and the spritzer was very refreshing with the taste of the melon lingering on your tongue.
Next came Duck with a Duck Confit Risotto and a Foie Gras reduction served with grilled figs.
The duck was perfectly cooked and the flavors were rich and deep. The risotto was some of the best I have had and the figs just added a slight raisin flavor that instead of competing with the duck enhanced it. Barbara found the meat to be a bit chewy but liked the duck comfit alot.
We then went on to deserts. We were both given different ones - the first one was a Warm Valahona Chocolate Cake with Macadamia nut brittle and Malted Ice Cream.
This was very nioe a deep rich chocolate taste with a gooey warm center and with the ice cream and brittle - just a treat of taste and texture.
The next desert was a Banana Cream Pie with Bananna Mousse and Spiced Rum Caramel.
This was good, but nothing to write home about. I did enjoy it as I always have a thing for banana creame pie anyway but not as wonderful as the chocolate cake.
At the end of the meal we were handed 2 fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies that the chef made. They smelled delicious, but they were breakfast the next morning as we were bursting at the seams!
That was a very good meal and the best we have had in Colorado at this point. The service was spot on, without seeming to hover. Everything was well prepared and tasted wonderful. The only downsides as I mentioned before is that the tables are a bit close together and with the A/C down in the area where we were seated it did detract a bit. As far as what we rated it, the overall score was a 8.5 which is just fantastic. All the food was good, most very good and in one instance (the Rabbit and Pasta) the best we have had. We would highly recommend Mizuna!
Info and Numbers
Mizuna restaurant website is at http://www.mizunadenver.com/ and the chef as we mentioned before is Frank Bonanno. He also is the chef for Luca D'Italia and we both hope to be fortunate enough to eat there someday. You can get reservations on open table but do remember they are closed Sunday and Monday. The tasting menu is $85 per person, tax not included and the total cost of our meal was $220.00 when you add on the tip.
Thank you again for stopping by and if you have any questions about the places we have dined or have suggestions or just want to chat drop us a line anytime.
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