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Fine Fall Dining at The Brown Palace

One of Denver’s most iconic and historic hotels, the inimitable Brown Palace has released its full fall menu, and it’s a beauty

More of a #Denver institution than a #hotel, The Brown Palace opened its doors way back in August 1892 but rather than merely standing the test of time, the grand old dame of Denver hospitality has laughed in the face of Father Time and remains one of the country’s most iconic hotels.

Dining at The Brown Palace is, as you might expect, a grand affair. With six different locations to enjoy food and drinks of varying levels of pomp and circumstance - indeed the hotel offers and has offered everything from casual drinks to elegant dinners in the Grand Ballroom, as was the case for former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing when he visited in 2001.

The Palace Arms is perhaps the jewel in the crown of the hotel, both in culinary and historic terms. Adorned with all kinds of historical nicknacks, including a pair of dueling pistols believed to have belonged to none other than Napoleon, the Palace Arms also has an extensive wine cellar, so much so that the restaurant has been a recipient of the "Best of Award of Excellence" from Wine Spectator. Able to accommodate 48 diners in the main restaurant, the Palace Arms also has a smaller space called the Independence Room that can be utilized for private dining experiences. The wraparound mural that adorns the walls there is a particular kind of wallpaper that was created in the 1940’s by a company called Zuber. The scenes depicted are French interpretations of different areas of the US areas including Boston Harbor; Charleston, South Carolina; Niagara Falls; and the Southwestern US. This wallpaper can also be found in the Louvre and the White House.

The latest addition to the culinary canon at The Brown Palace is the fall chef’s tasting menu at the Palace Arms. Available as six- and eight-course menus (both with optional wine partings), the menu is something of a culinary tour of the world that starts and ends with the very best of Colorado produce.  

On a recent visit to the Palace Arms, we sampled several of Executive Chef Garrett Kasper's dishes on the new menu (accompanied with selections from the aforementioned wine cellar extraordinaire courtesy of sommelier Chris Messler).

The Fall Salad of beets, pistachio yogurt, grapes and petite greens is clean and flavorful with a good balance of earthiness from the beets and a savory richness from the pistachio yoghurt. A relatively simple yet delicious prelude to more intensely savory dishes.

Served with a Drouhin-Vaudon, Chablis 2014

Available only as part of the eight-course menu is a dish of Moulard Duck. A hybrid of Pekin and muscovy ducks, the moulard is typically a little fattier than other types of duck and, when prepared correctly, offers an intensely savory flavor - duck 2.0 perhaps. Served with a terrine of sweet potato which is interestingly topped with a blow torched meringue, the dish is elegant with several touches that deserve recognition. Simple slices of mountain rose apple help to cut through the richness of the duck while a smoked pistachio crumble brings the duck back into focus. With an almost bacon-like flavor, the duck is also accompanied by a red cabbage marmalade.  

Served with a Joseph Drouhin, Cote de Beaune-Villages 2015

Next was another dish that is only available as part of the eight-course menu, the Seared Venison dish is fall on a plate, both in terms of plating (thanks to the beautiful hibiscus leaves, which added slight lemon flavor) and ingredients. The venison, seared and served rare, is dressed with a selection of delicious fall accoutrements including preserved huckleberries, preserved carrots, and a brûléed butternut squash fluid gel which may well steal the dish for anyone other than dedicated carnivores. To add decadence to delight, the dish also had two generous shavings of truffle and as finished with a drizzle of beurre noisette.

Served with a Chateau Beychevelle, Bordeaux 2008

Finally, whether you opt for the six- or eight-course menu, you will be presented with a literal dessert to round off your evening. The Pineapple “Upside-Down” Cake is, first and foremost, delicious, but it is also a fun and inventive take on an age-old dish.

Served in an Old Fashioned-like tumbler, the bottom of the glass contains a rich and buttery caramel with preserved Colorado cherries and a piece of caramelized pineapple, while the glass is topped, upside down naturally, with a slice of toasted sponge cake with a funnel of meringue that reaches down into the glass and toward the bottom. The overall visual effect of the sponge cake lid holding the stalactite of near-burnt (in the best way) meringue is terrarium-like and as fun as it is delicious.

Served with a Michele Chiarlo, Moscato D’Asti 2015  


Other dishes that can be found on the six- and eight-course menus include a Colorado Tomato Soup with Fried Cheese Crouton; Seared Diver Scallops with Curried Kurt Squash, Wild Rice and Coconut Cauliflower Mushroom; Quinault Indian Salmon with Chard; and Colorado Beef with Caulinini, Broccoli, and Foraged Mushrooms.

Palace Arms is open for dinner from 5:30 PM - 9 PM Friday - Saturday

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