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What to Expect at Spruce

By Ruth Tobias
August 8, 2014
Photo by: Ruth Tobias

The final piece of the renovation puzzle at the Hotel Boulderado is now in place. After updates to the Corner Bar and the transformation of the Catacombs into License No. 1, the Boulder landmark set about turning the long-standing Q’s Restaurant into Spruce — whose tagline, “Farm and Fish,” tells you all you need to know about the kitchen’s dual emphasis on local products and seafood.

Though the curved standing bar at one end of the dining room and stained-glass windows at the other remain in place, new furniture, lighting and an earthy green-gold color scheme lend a fresh vibe to the space. And while the breakfast and brunch menus haven’t changed much, executive chef Shawn Murrell has created an all-new lineup for lunch and dinner that reflects the way we’re eating now, with a dedicated raw-bar section he plans to expand and a strong focus on small plates. (Of course, the hotel’s famous clam chowder still stands, and meat-and-potatoes types needn’t fear going without steak, burgers or pork chops.) Meanwhile, the drink list features lots of Colorado brewers and distillers as well as a wide array of wines by the glass (nearly 30 in all). Here’s a look at a few of the dishes and drinks we sampled at a preview.

2115 13th St., Boulder; 303-442-4344  

  • Creamy, mellow Chesapeake Bay oysters come expertly fried in light cornmeal batter and topped with dollops of Tabasco rémoulade. 

  • Photo by: Ruth Tobias

    Murrell contrasts the juicy sweetness of grilled peaches with prosciutto “tuiles” and a gently breaded disk of basil chèvre; a drizzle of black-pepper-honey-balsamic reduction brings it all together. 

  • Photo by: Ruth Tobias

    And he reinvents an otherwise classic Greek salad with the addition of marinated octopus. 

  • Photo by: Ruth Tobias

    Talk about a centerpiece. Dusted in rice flour and carefully deep-fried, the whole red snapper is flaky and fantastic paired with roasted potatoes and fennel-orange slaw over a pool of romesco. 

  • Photo by: Ruth Tobias

    The bright, tangy flavors of the Mediterranean also dominate this grilled Alamosa striped bass — think sundried tomatoes, capers, Tuscan kale and artichokes. 

  • Photo by: Ruth Tobias

    For her part, pastry chef Alex Hindman favors comfortingly traditional desserts, like Bing cherry pie in limoncello sauce.

  • Photo by: Ruth Tobias

    Or the deep, dark chocolate-peanut butter French silk tart over crème anglaise and cocoa sauce. 

  • Photo by: Ruth Tobias

    For an ultra-summery splash, try the vodka-based blueberry smash. Less potent but equally delicious is the pear cider with fresh pear purée, Sambuca and lemon.

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