Casting for Deliciousness: A New Eatery for Denver Locavores

Positive energy penetrates the newborn Wild Catch in Uptown on 17th and Ogden. Faces materialize from past restaurants, as servers and chefs from Frasca, Z Cuisine, Masterpiece Deli, Tag, Squeaky Bean and others come together with a new vision. Not only have they been bit by the epicurean bug that is buzzing through Denver and Boulder in the past few years, they seem to have a goal: to catch the big fish and win this horse town’s palate.

What stands out most to me is that in one room, some of the greatest local culinary talents coexist. One can almost feel their creative ions bouncing off one another. Even the menu is driven by local farmers and even winemakers (Infinite Monkey’s Vinaigrette is a lovely component in the grilled vegetable salad).

There is genuine excitement, hope and ambition bursting from within. And it doesn’t take much coaxing to feel the impulse to jump in and partake.

The wine list is one of the more inspiring I have seen come from a Denver restaurant in a while. Sommelier and General Manager Jonathan Greschler is clearly having a ball exploring the boundaries (and potential) of this city’s finest sippers. He notes that he was shocked that in the opening weekend when he unexpectedly sold through all his pre-2007 white Burgundy. That’s nothing short of phenomenal when I think of selling Burgs in my own shop. This economy just doesn’t see an eager AmEx like it did a few years ago. Plus, Burgs aren’t the easiest sell to someone that hasn’t been properly introduced. So it has me thinking, who is eating here?

Scanning the room, tattooed folk and blue haired people alike all want to drink the kool-aid. Wild catch has had considerable hype, and has evidently ‘caught on’. To see over time which demographic they net will be interesting. As I see it now, they have a little something for everyone.

The menu offers a wide array of options to appease both the veg head and the carnivore. I was under the impression it was mostly seafood, but there were plenty of other bites such as chicken 2 ways, Colorado rib eye, porky beans, and salads. However, the fruit de mers certainly take center stage. We shared some grilled lobster over fried green tomatoes (sensational), fried oysters and Arctic Char alongside ranch-kissed butter lettuce and the most sensational, addictive corn crab fritters I’ve ever tasted.

Anyone who has Sinsky Pinot by the glass wins brownie points by me. Anyone who deliberately seeks out incredible backvintages of Austrian and German wine wins my heart and ever returning palate. Kirchmayr Gruner from the ‘80’s tempt me to go back with my very next paycheck. I am so curious!

A good friend we ran into when we arrived gifted us a bottle of NV Selosse Blanc des Blancs— a legend until last night, I had never had the opportunity to really enjoy this wine beyond a taste here and there. NV or not, it blew the bubbles off most vintage Champagne I have ever held on my tongue. I reveled in its complex notes of day old apple, hazelnuts and baked bread all evening long, feeling so grateful.

If you want to feel passion pulsing throughout your entire dining experience, check it out while spirits are high and everyone seems ready to break out in the Smurfs theme song. The cuisine deserves it accolades, the wine list refreshingly unique, the servers top notch and Chef Brunson of Masterpiece Delicatessen coming to fruition in this Uptown eatery.

 

*Courtesy of www.thepersistentpalate.wordpress.com

About Ashley Hausman


Originally from Wisconsin, Ashley moved to Colorado to hike and climb mountains as soon as she had a B.A. in hand. Quickly she learned, she needed to find a career. So she went back to grad school to get her PhD in English & American Literature, beginning with a Masters at New York University. A few long papers, a thesis and a masters degree later, she found wine was not only an incredible way to enhance Derridean studies, but it had its own story to tell: of regions, soils, cultures and farming. While Woolf still had her heart, Burgundy was creeping in… She decided to postpone the PhD and go for the plunge. Now, she manages Little’s Wine & Spirits near the University of Denver. She orders by day, sips and tells all in her blog by night, and runs private wine parties in between in addition to giving advice on cellar building, wine vacations and food pairing. It’s a passion that grows only more complex with every passing vintage.