Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bones - 03/23/2011

701 Grant Street
Denver, CO 80203-3508
(303) 860-2929

Frank Bonanno is undoubtedly one of Denver's most prolific chefs. After being pleased by my experience at his flagship, Mizuna, I was curious to check out some of his other restaurants. Of the remaining restaurants, Bones had the most interesting menu of Asian appetizers and noodles with European flair. The restaurant lacks the understated elegance and warmth of Mizuna, opting instead for some basic white topped tables and a long noodle bar.

St. Shogun - Suntory Times Aged Whiskey, St. Germain, Triplum & Lemon. Up. Simple & Refreshing
Bones features an interesting cocktail selection emphasizing Asian libations like Sake or Japanese Whiskey. The drink lives up to its billing of simple and refreshing, an elegant whiskey sour, whiskey is just barely detectable beneath the aromatic elderflower and citrus notes.

Deconstructed Jumbo Lump Crab Wontons
I was hoping for something more elaborate than a pile of crab and some deep fried wonton skins, but the course wasn't bad. The crab meat was sweet and plump though I wish had chosen a citrus or vinegar based accompaniment instead of mayo.

Duck Sausage Eggrolls
I've never been a huge fan of eggrolls but my companion was curious to try this course. This actually turned out to be one of the better apps, the duck sausage was suitably fatty and tinged with the flavor of five spice very similar to a traditional roast duck.

Escargot Potstickers
Somehow the most adventurous of the courses was the only one that panned out. The rich spiced potstickers are filled with the classic preparation of escargot seasoned with herb butter.

Steamed Buns - Suckling Pig or Belly
I was expecting great things with this course, soft fluffy buns wrapped around tender rich pork something like the Peking pork at Cafe Hiro, but what I got was dense heavy buns and dry tough pork.

Roasted Bone Marrow
This was a fairly typical preparation of bone marrow. The texture is reminiscent of jellied fat and the marrow's gorge-raising oiliness made me feel I was eating beef flavored butter. We were given some toast to counter the marrow's weight but the bread was already buttered reducing its effectiveness.

Ramen - Poached Lobster, Edamame, Miso Lobster Broth, Poached Farm Egg
I had such high hopes for this course, rich ramen served with runny eggs sounds like quintessential comfort food. Unfortunately I was again headed for disappointment, the lobster turned out overly tough and the broth was nothing like my expectations. I was hoping for an intensely fatty umami soup like the traditional tonkotsu broth instead the soup was similar to a lobster bisque, buttery, sweet, and heavy. The course's one bright spot in this whole dish was the perfectly cooked ramen.

Certainly I didn't expect the same level of refinement out of Bones that I did from Mizuna but the flavors didn't work out as I was hoping. I envisioned traditional Asian flavors with the Western emphasis on quality with perhaps some French or Italian influences thrown in. The food was fairly well cooked, but course after course of buttery, oily fare felt way monolithic for my tastes. I would have preferred some contrasting acidity or spice, but seeing as the restaurant was packed, my opinion seemed to be in the minority.


Chicken Fried Gourmet said...

Those pork buns although steamed look like they may have been finished in the oven given their golden color.

Epicuryan said...

I didn't notice that initially but perhaps that's what gave them their dry texture.