For the next week, every meal — every bite — will be chased by the memory of The Kitchen in Fort Collins.
The Kitchen opened Tuesday, June 24, at the corner of Mountain Avenue and College Avenue, across the street from Austin’s. Their menu boasts an impressive spread, from local cuts of meat to fresh seafood plucked from the coast of Maine.
The French take on American cuisine was fresh and decadent. The presentation of each course promised satisfaction, and after the first bite we wanted another. The taste lingered.
First up on our culinary adventure was charcuterie. The platter of fatty, thin prosciutto was coupled with rosette de lyon and paired well with a creamy buratta. Olives, house made pickles and toast points accompanied meat and cheese. The flavors melded flawlessly together; the mild cheese countered the saltiness of the cold cuts.
The charcuterie was followed by mussels, shipped overnight in salt water from Maine. The mussels were drowned in a white wine butter reduction sauce and served with a spongy rye bread.
We considered drinking the sauce, but fortunately our waitress brought extra slices of grilled bread for us to soak up the rest of the white wine sauce.
With the meal half over, the lamb came. Good food inspires silence. We said very little as the tender bits of lamb tantalized our palettes. It wasn’t gummy, nor chewy nor stringy — just perfectly cooked to medium rare and served to our delight. It came prepared on a bed of sautéed greens, beans and anchoyade.
The chef’s take on lamb originated from a farm in Hotchkiss, Colorado, where the chef hand-selected each lamb from a herd of 600. According to our waitress, he knows every one of their names and personalities.
For dessert we requested The Kitchen’s best; at this point, our waitress was the one ordering. Alone the choice would have been too hard, and we knew no matter what, we would leave happy.
A supercharged pecan bread pudding was brought to the table. Each bite included the perfect mix of hot and cold and sweet and tangy. You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy sticky toffee pudding, and that’s kind of the same thing.
Walking out of the restaurant, we were embraced with the same type of warmth we were welcomed with. The Kitchen’s mission is to create an atmosphere of hospitality and comfort for their diners, because after all, community is created through conversations over good food.
The connection to friends, family and community is what The Kitchen seeks when catering to Fort Collins, which goes hand-in-hand with their “creating community through food” motto.
The food was spectacular; almost awe-inspiring. But what made the experience, well, an experience, was the staff. Prior to opening, each member of their 70 person crew endured a rigorous training. Management grilled the menu into their minds, ensuring each staff member was an expert at food pairing, food origins and recommendations. In fact, our waitress ordered for us.
Between two people, casually splitting two appetizers, an entree and a dessert, we spent $85, including a 20 percent tip.
So, maybe this isn’t a go-to college student restaurant, but grab a date, mark your birthday or just treat yourself. For the quality and taste, it’s worth the money.
To view their hours and menus visit their website.
Collegian Senior Reporter Josephine Bush and Managing Editor Lawrence Lam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.