Larkspur |


BY Dominque TaylorThe smoked salmon carpaccio comes with fine potato tulie crowns.

The largest fine dining restaurant in the state of Colorado, Larkspur works because of the team behind it. Chef-owner Thomas Salamunovich’s vision of seasonal New American fare is in keeping with his staff’s love of authentic cuisine. Nothing is too low-brow to serve, as long as it’s the real deal. By the same token, they strive to elevate the food. Whether it’s fish tacos (with handmade tortillas and fresh crunch) or caviar stunningly served in an ice block with beautifully deconstructed accoutrements, the products never compete with each other but work in tandem ” just as the kitchen staff does.

Larkspur cuisine is so refined there are no extraneous flavors or textures. Nothing is accidental. Such a presentation might lead you to the conclusion that each plate begins with a concept, but it actually begins with a source. Executive chef Mike Regrut talks to the duck guy, the farmer, the rancher. He asks questions, he makes requests. “The most exciting thing about being a chef is seeking out the products,” he said. If he wants to serve a farm-fresh egg atop bitter greens he calls a woman who meanders through her chicken coop, collecting eggs just for him. In January he might be thinking of baby radishes, so he’ll call his farmer in Gypsum to check on the winter greenhouse.

It’s wintertime, and that means we get back some of those Larkspur signature dishes. During the summer, the chefs get giddy with produce and are in a constant state of creation. But when the snow moves in they refine their greatest hits, such as the exceptional roasted chicken with ultra-crispy skin and shaved Brussels sprouts, the braised beef short rib with heirloom faro risotto and of course the veal scaloppini with twice-baked potatoes and creamed spinach. And it’s doughnut season. The handmade, fried-to-order sweet bites created by pastry chefs Allana Smith and Kim Guertin come in regular and, for the first time, filled.

Pork belly is a favorite among chefs, thanks to its decadent flavor and texture. And if it’s heritage pork, that’s even better. Sous Chef Luke Venner’s dish starts atop a circle of daikon radish puree. Topped with spinach slightly wilted in chile oil and Chinese fermented black beans, the greens provide a pungency well matched with the sweet, miso-glazed pork belly that sits like a crown jewel. It’s one of the more decadent starters out there.

Avail yourself of Larkspur’s wine list, easily navigated with the help of Kevin Furtado or any of the dining room staff. The restaurant is a destination for wine lovers.

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