Are you a food-lover who enjoys watching movies like Babette’s Feast, Eat Drink Man Woman, and Big Night? Perhaps you appreciate how a meal is prepared –from the selection of ingredients to the chef’s attention to detail –and the fact that the food is savored as opposed to just eaten.
Denver has a number of great restaurants but finding one that offers an authentic, mouth-wateringly slow, course-by-course fine dining experience can be challenging.
Restauranteur and chef Gene Tang wanted to change that by introducing his own version of eclectic French cuisine to the Mile High City.
Having grown up in Hong Kong, Tang learned his trade early from his mother who, along with his father, owned a boutique hotel and continental restaurant. Not only did all six children have to learn cooking but to advance their skills, they traveled all over the world sampling the finest cuisines available in the best restaurants.
Tang brought his advanced life training with him to Denver and after successfully owning a number of eateries, opened 1515 in the busy LoDo District. Originally the building was a circa-1860 row house but was spared in a fire that destroyed most of the others in 1863.
The entrance is unassuming but leads you down to the lower level and the newly restored Rewind bar. Colorful LED lighting gives the space a soothing glow, backlighting the wide variety of available spirits.
If you prefer an informal atmosphere, the Rewind bar offers small plate servings for those who would rather relax and chill without consuming too much of the delicious food.
Upstairs, the ambiance includes Tang’s own design elements of pastel green seat backs together with black chairs, white tablecloths, and wall art that complement the original exposed red bricks.
Tang believes strongly that restauranteurs need to spend most of their time in the front of the house to interact with their patrons and develop relationships that will ensure repeat business.
He also makes it a point to find talented chefs who possess both passion and tenacity, working closely with them to create an unforgettable culinary experience. His current executive chef is Joseph Arena who uses locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.
Tang’s customers can choose anything from appetizers and entrees to a six-or-eight course degustation, with or without wine pairing. A six course without wine would cost $65.
The restaurant has won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence every year since they opened. You can be sure you’ll be able to find the perfect accompaniment to your meal from their three wine cellars and selection of 22,000 bottles of red and white wines for every palate.
After settling in at your table, your wait staff will present an amuse-bouche to whet your appetite.
Next, I suggest you try their 7X Colorado Cattle Company wagyu beef. This perfectly marbled tender meat is cooked Ishiyaki-style on a hot stone at your table, and served along with dipping sauce and bread.
Tang uses all natural Boulder lamb for his lamb rack with trumpet mushroom ragu. It comes artistically plated as one of the available entrees. I found it to be among the best lamb I have ever had.
For dessert I recommend their cherries jubilee flambé with cinnamon, lavender, and brown butter caramel ice cream, which is made using a cold molecular technique that results in a creamier textured ice cream.
The goal of chef Tang and his staff is to offer their patrons an authentic old-world restaurant experience that might be found in a big city restaurant or seen in your favorite gustatory films.
This includes menu items that change daily based on availability of fresh ingredients, personalized service in the classic French tradition, and an owner who is on-site and involved in every aspect of operations.
“We cook food that we love to eat,” says Tang. Judging from the fact that they just won the 2015 TripAdvisor Award of Excellence and Open Table’s Diner’s Choice award, he must be doing something right.