Celebrated Denver chef Jennifer Jasinski is out to smash what she calls “the myth of coastal superiority” when it comes to catching fresh fish in this land-locked state. “When (restaurants) fly oysters from the West Coast to the East Coast, they fly over us and we wave at them,” she said. “The idea that we can’t get great fish (is a myth).”
Jasinski, who along with business partner Beth Gruitch, will open Stoic & Genuine, a fancy fish house, inside the renovated historic Union Station next month.
Last week, media members were invited to lunch at Rioja, another Jasinski-Gruitch restaurant, to sample menu items from the S&G menu.
If you can get past the stodgy name, you’ll find a fish and oyster place swimming in creativity and downright deliciousness.
We sampled oysters on the half-shell topped with flavored granitas, a Jasinski favorite since she cooked at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant Granita in Southern California. The granita theme is carried over to the bar where several signature cocktails contain the shaved ice.
Another welcome menu item are the whole belly fried clams and non-goopy lobster roll. Jasinski’s take on Crab Louie throws out the traditional Russian or Thousand Island dressing in favor of Green Goddess.
Corn bread is served in a corn-cob-shaped cast iron tray. Other offerings include Billi Bi, a classic-mussel soup with grilled ciabatta and aioli; tuna avocado roulate – yellowfin tuna tartare, smoked jalapeno and radish; broccoli salad with toasted sunflower seeds, avocado, honey crisp apple and ponzu-sesame vinaigrette, and strawberries and cream in a jar with whipped mascarpone cream, doughnut sticks and basil.
The sample lunch left is craving for more. Jorel Pierce (of Jasinski-Gruitch-owned Euclid Hall) is S&G’s chef de cuisine, and Alaina Silva is the general manager. More information at www.stoicandgenuine.com.