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If The Cool Gets Old, The Food Stays Hot

Published on: October 1st, 2007

In considering Nine75, located near Village Bistro in Westminster, I would like to begin by saying that the recent effort on the part of restaurateurs to bring a city dining sensibility into developing locations is welcome. I applaud them for it. There is no reason that urban-cool must only be urban, and Nine75 is a study in bringing the cool. It’s SO cool. It has cool, curvy water glasses. It has cool plates embossed with designs evoking cool tattoos served by a staff with panoply of cool haircuts and cool tattoos to match.

It plays rock and roll music. That’s cool. Even its table water, which is infused with cucumber and strawberries, is cool. All of this is certainly amusing. What is most notable about the sequel to the hip Nine75 that sits in the posh Beauvallon complex in Denver, however, is that once you get past all this nonsense you actually have excellent food. Chef Troy Guard has for some time been regaling Denver diners with a concept steeped in shared plates and snazzy comfort food, and his effort at this newer location is no different.

Our server, a very thorough and capable hipster named Betsey, told us that the cuisine is imagined as an Asian/Latin fusion, though our experience was one more fully referential to classic Americana. True, we started out with one of the six offered Mojitos (I chose a delicious grapefruit option at $8) and a delightfully flavorful ceviche shooter ($3 with rotating ingredients) of tuna, cucumber, tomato, cilantro and strawberries.

And yes, the raw bar, influenced by Chef Guard’s tutelage under Master Chef Roy Yamaguchi, is clearly a highlight. But the main menu is really a through-the-looking-glass imagining of American classics.

After our amuse of beef tenderloin and chantterelle mushroom, we dove into an order of Coca-Cola Baby Back Ribs ($10), which were sweet, spicy and lean. The numerous and ample side dishes offer a number of avenues toward vegetarian eating that the entrée list does not, and we sampled the Broccoli with Cheese Sauce ($5), the Grilled Asparagus ($7) and the Macaroni & Cheese ($5), all of which were fresh and decadent. The latter was a true highlight.

My choice was the Boneless Fried Chicken ($17)—the meat is soaked in buttermilk for 24 hours prior to preparation and is, as a result, a tender, juicy joy. Served with some unnecessary ranch dressing and a salad of greens, sprouts and green apples, the dish was an excellent centerpiece to the kind of feast your true-blue, American mom might serve at home. If she was a Master Chef. On crack.

Speaking of crack, we went for a dessert of Twinkie Cake ($6), which was every bit the source of blissful regret you might imagine. Two plank-sized slices of yellow cake stuffed with house-made crème filling were just the thing to send us to the gym the next morning.

All of this takes place in a comfortable setting that is mod, mod, mod. An open-concept dining area bleeds seamlessly into an al fresco patio tucked away from the busy road. The wraparound bar was bustling with after-work revelers, and a huge community table beckons large groups. Many fine wines are available by the glass in case you get tired of those Mojitos.

Which you won’t.

NINE75 North

2831 West 120th Avenue, Westminster
Bottom line: A high-concept party where the food still shines through.

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