When a james beard-nominated chef is in denver, taking over the kitchen at old major, you immediate jump on this one-of-a-kind dining experience.
The draw to dining-out, is the experience. Having a stand-out meal in a unique setting or special circumstance makes it unforgettable. Looking back on some of my favorite meals of all time, they all have that extra element of gen es say quoi.
Last week, I was invited to chef justin brunson’s restaurant, old major, for a one-night-only restaurant takeover. Old major has been working with some highly reputable chefs, hosting semi-regular restaurant takeovers. The dinner I attended last week was with chef justin carlisle from ardent restaurant in wisconsin. Chef carlisle was a semifinalist for ‘best new restaurant’ by the james beard foundation. Likewise, he was a nominee for ‘best chef midwest’ in both 2015 + 2016. His farm to table approach to food is highly influenced from growing up on a small beef farm.
Our 5-course meal was a mix of comforting ingredients, fresh produce + elements of chef carlisle’s upbringing, all juxtaposed with refined presentation. The meal kicked off with a tasty bite; a puffed pretzel filled with warm beer cheese soup + dolloped with aged cheddar. This little morsel packed a serious punch, the ideal way to kick off a meal. My only complaint… wishing for about 12 more. My favorite dish of the evening was the smoked trout, topped with delicious seasonal melon, a smoked soy, crispy trout skin + fresh herbs. Additionally, the homemade bread, served with butter + muenster cheese from his family farm was a beautiful way to weave a bit of his childhood-roots into the meal.
Another stand out was the aged wagyu beef with mustard greens from carlisle’s own, family farm. The meal finished with roasted plums, vanilla custard + a lemon balm granita. The not-too-sweet dessert paired perfectly with the moscato d’ asti from canelli, italy.
This dining experience truly felt special from beginning to end. Old major has such a beautiful space, the perfect vessel to showcase great food from chefs around the country. In case you missed out on previous takeovers, there is another on the horizon. Gigantic brewing company will be presenting a takeover in association with the great american beer festival on october 3rd.
Old major is known for their elevated farmhouse cuisine. The restaurant’s focus is on noise to tail cooking + sustainability. They also have an incredible in-house butchery program which I got to personal tour with chef brunson. It was inspiring and incredibly fun to see his passion for house-made + locally sourced ingredients, whole-animal butchery and charcuterie. Again, a huge thank you to old major for hosting me for such a delicious + memorable evening.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by brunson + co., however, all opinions expressed here are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who allow me to continue creating new content for South on Broadway!