Friday, February 17, 2012

Restaurant Kevin Taylor

1106 14th Street
Denver, CO 80202

Aside from the weight gain and long term health risks, the worst thing about eating the way I do is the jading that comes with it. I sometimes wonder if its better to avoid returning to some of my old favorites, better to live with a great memory than fresh disappointment.

Kevin Taylor is one such establishment. My first visit, which predates my blog and was one of the first times that I took pictures during a meal, was absolutely superb. I came back to the city for work a few months earlier but was hesitant to return to KT, but this I finally worked up the courage this time around.

The chef from my previous meal, BJ Wojtowicz has since moved on, working at The French Laundry before finally striking out and opening Connor's Grillroom in Dallas Pennsylvania. Replacing him is Austin Cuento. Unfortunately I couldn't find out much more about Cuento's background other than than he worked with Wojtowicz at Kevin Taylor.

AMUSE: Crab Toast - Truffle Remoulade, Crab Bisque
The meal started off with a delightful little duet of crab that gave me hope that the restaurant remained as I remembered. The crab comes with a tangy truffle remoulade that heightened the natural brine of the crab. The crab was less apparent in the bisque but the fiery smoky soup was still quite delicious.

FIRST: Duck Confit & Foie Gras Terrine - Cranberries, Pedro Ximenez
Wonderful pairing duck confit with foie. Cooking the bird in its own fat gives the dish a wonderful richness that is augmented by the presence of the foie. The sheer savoriness of the bird even stands up to sparing doses of the berries and PX though I found the greens to be much more complimentary.

RISOTTO: Spiced Pumpkin Risotto - Saffron, Chicken Wings, Walnuts
I've never been a fan of pumpkin savory or sweet. Fortunately it was fairly mild here and further balanced by the sapid chicken though I found the combination somewhat disjointed. Unfortunately the risotto itself was a horribly overcooked pasty mass making the point rather moot.

SOUP: Wild Mushroom Velouté - Confit Lemon, Parmesan Oil, Fennel
Hard to go wrong with a cream of mushroom soup, but then hard to go that right either. Despite some hints of contrast from the lemon and fennel, the soup remains too monolithic and not a little bit boring.

FISH: Scottish Salmon - Roast Baby Vegetables, Pommes Maxim, Ginger Red Wine
The one bright spot on the plate was the salmon itself, unfortunately it was overshadowed by the weight of the red wine sauce. Accompanying the fish was an oddly stale pommes maxim as well as a pedestrian mix of baby vegetables and heavy sauce better suited to a steak.

MEAT: Smoked Beef Brisket - New Potato Puree, Green Apple, Celery
I rarely leave food on the table unless I'm too full to finish but I just couldn't bring myself to finish this plate. The brisket was so tough and dry that it wasn't worth the effort to chew and swallow. The chunk of cooked green apple added a disconcerting element of fruit that felt completely out of place. The only passable thing on the plate was the mashed potatoes but that alone wasn't enough to salvage the dish.

DESSERT: Salted Caramel & Chocolate Fondant - Crispy Pistachio Florentine, Salty Caramel
The meal picked back up substantially with the dessert. I immediately noticed the scent of buttered popcorn from the warm salted caramel. The weight of the decadent chocolate cake pairs favorably with the caramel while the Florentine adds a bit of texture to the dish.

MIGNARDISES: Chocolate Truffle
The meal ended with a single hazelnut crusted chocolate truffle that reminded me of a salty Ferrerro Rocher.

I came back to Kevin Taylor with both hope and trepidation. The meal started out strong then fell apart during the middle four courses before recovering somewhat on the sweets. As much as I wanted to like the meal, the serious flaws with the risotto, fish, and meat were just too much to overlook.


KM said...

wow that risotto looks scary.

Epicuryan said...

It was pretty bad. You can even see the texture looks off in the picture.

KM said...

Yea, how can a kitchen get away with this!

Rodzilla said...

Yeah, even if I didn't read - I could tell where the meal dropped off from the pictures (and it had nothing to do with the photography)

Epicuryan said...

It really is a shame. I loved the restaurant when I first went four years earlier.