Best Thing We Ate

Stoic & Genuine Preview: Billi Bi

By Ruth Tobias  |  June 11, 2014
Credit: Ruth Tobias

You'd have to be living under a very large, heavy rock not to have heard about Stoic & Genuine, the seafooder set to make a splash at Union Station in July. The fourth venture from James Beard Award-winning chef-owner Jennifer Jasinski, managing partner Beth Gruitch and chef Jorel Pierce (a James Beard Rising Star nominee in his own right) has been among Denver's most hotly anticipated openings since the news that Rioja, Euclid Hall and Bistro Vendôme were getting a sibling broke last fall. We'll be covering it in-depth in the weeks to come, of course, from the raw and granita bars to the lobster rolls and fried clams to the grower Champagne program. But after a preview tasting yesterday, we couldn't wait to fill you in on a dish that may not yet be on your radar: Billi Bi.

When you taste it, you'll be convinced you detect spices like saffron or turmeric. In fact the intensely flavorful, richly textured mussel soup derives its character entirely from fish stock, white wine and roasted vegetables as well as plump bivalves from Bangs Island. A grilled-ciabatta crouton and a touch of aioli are all it needs by way of garnish. In short, the Billi Bi is a meal in itself, perhaps supplemented by either of the stunning salads below. On the left is the house salad, no mere afterthought but a vibrant mixture of butter lettuce, orange segments, walnuts and crispy dehydrated seaweed in a walnut-orange vinaigrette. On the right, a mélange of al dente broccoli, slivered apple and avocado, and toasted sunflower seeds in ponzu-sesame vinaigrette is equally delightful. Given that these aren't even the signature items, you can just begin to imagine how this menu is going to sparkle.

Union Station at 1701 Wynkoop St.; 303-640-3474