Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Restaurant Review: RootDown, Denver, CO

RootDown restaurant in Denver's Highland neighborhood

With the growing popularity of the locavore movement, the "farm-to-table" or "field-to-fork" trend in restaurants is all the rage. More than seemingly ever before, restaurants and their chefs are going to great lengths to showcase local foods on their menus. That philosophy is at the core of RootDown, one of Denver, Colorado's hottest farm-to-table restaurants right now.

As much as possible, RootDown tries to stay organic, natural, seasonal and local. On the menu you'll find more than 20 Colorado farmers, ranchers and other suppliers. Best of all, nearly the entire dinner menu can be prepared gluten-free. (On the current menu, about 75% - nearly 20 dishes - can be made GF.)

Rocky Ford Cantaloupe & Tomato Gazpacho

Last week I had the distinct pleasure of attending dinner at RootDown, not just to eat, but also as a guest (along with several other GF bloggers) to celebrate the launch of Rudi's new gluten-free bread line. (I'll do a separate post about Rudi's and their new GF breads, including a review, in the near future... For now, I'm focusing this post on the food at RootDown.) To honor the occasion, RootDown's chefs spiced up the standard menu by sprinkling in extra dishes that featured Rudi's bread products.

For example, dinner kicked off with a Rocky Fort cantaloupe and tomato gazpacho, with a lime crema and fig balsamic (with the crema conveniently shaped like a Rudi's "R"). Delicious. The gazpacho came out alongside a tomato grilled cheese on Rudi's bread. An organic beet salad followed.

Rocky Mountain "Never Ever" Bistro Beef Tender

My main course was RootDown's Rocky Mountain "Never Ever" Bistro Beef Tender, served with corn and fava succotash, mashed parsnips, parsnip chips, and Worcestershire-date molasses glaze/reduction. In a word, this meal was divine. The beef was perfectly cooked - flavorful, moist, tender. The glaze was bursting with flavor that complemented the meat. This was one of the best beef dishes - if not the best - I've had in all of 2010.

Coconut Macaroons

Between dinner and dessert, the chef sent out a sampling of coconut macaroons that had their "ankles" dipped in chocolate. This was the one part of the meal that didn't wow me. On the average, the macaroons were...average. Too dense for my preference, with nothing especially noteworthy about the flavor.

Rudi's GF Bread Pudding

Dessert was redeemed, however, by the piece de resistance: Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery Bread Pudding with Stranahan's Whiskey-Butter Sauce and Sour Cream Ice Cream. The texture of the bread pudding was nearly identical (as my memory goes) to a traditional gluten version of the dessert. The sour cream ice cream was surprisingly not all that sour, perhaps because it balanced the excessive sweet of the whiskey-butter sauce. This dessert was both decadent and delightful.

In the final analysis, whether you're a Denver local, coming to ski, or just passing through, you owe it to yourself to dine at RootDown. I'm hesitant to sound like I'm jumping on the RootDown bandwagon and feeding into the trendiness of one of Denver's hottest restaurants right now, but RootDown backs up its sizable reputation with superb food that's gluten-free.

- Pete


Gluten Free Steve said...

I was so disappointed that I was out of town for this event and had to miss out. Thanks for a great review.

peterbronski said...

We missed you, Steve! On a totally unrelated note, I'll have a new GF beer (a saison) ready to sample in a few short weeks!

Cheers, Pete

gfe--gluten free easily said...

I heard about this event. RootDown does sound like a great place to frequent. I'd love that beef dish. And, the macaroons don't look too macaroony to me, at least not in the photo. But, total yum on gf bread pudding! :-) What does the restaurant say about how they prevent cross contamination?

Thanks, Pete!


peterbronski said...

Hi Shirley... The restaurant follows a lot of the standard protocol, and handles breads and baked goods away from stations that would handle GF meals. Of course, they also note that they can't 100% guarantee... etc. But you'll find that at any restaurant. To my knowledge, not a single person from the event experienced any negative effects from cross-contamination.

Cheers, Pete

Paula said...

Pete - So glad you were able to join us! The grilled cheese was definitely my favorite. And the gazpacho...mmmmmm.

Sounds like you'll have that GF beer just in time for Oktoberfest...Cheers!

-Paula, on behalf of Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery

peterbronski said...

Thanks again for the invite, Paula!

Cheers, Pete

Nichole said...

Thanks for posting this info about the RootDown restaurant.Well,do U have more info about the other restaurants in Colorado springs that has best service and serves delicious food ?