Based on the generally accepted stereotype of Boulderites, a place like Organic Orbit—featuring a menu of local, organic, and, often, living food, served with style and a decent wine list—should be a slam dunk. And yet there we were, one of only two tables seated at 7:30 on a Wednesday night.
Although an additional table or two would arrive before we were finished, there was little doubt that Organic Orbit’s spacious dining room and welcoming bar could use a little more fanfare. The former is quite beautiful, with an elegant sitting area giving way to a few tables (only an odd number of which were covered in white linens, a touch we enjoyed).
There was also a very chic featured table for four that sat just a little higher and just a little closer to the windows than the rest. It was grand enough that we were embarrassed to take it of our own accord. We weren’t there to be seen, we came for the living food.
So what, the reader may ask, is “living” food exactly? Worry not, for the nomenclature refers not to things that may attempt to dodge your fork as you eat them. Rather it is another way of talking about raw foods, those that have escaped the deleterious effects of the cooking process. Cooking, as we all should know, often drains the victuals we eat of the very nutrients that make digestion a favorable option. How does this translate onto menu?
In a word, nicely.
In addition to a regular dinner menu that features many locally, organically or sustainably farmed meats and produce, it also offers a nightly “living” menu. On the night of our visit, this menu offered prix fixe dining of three courses ($27). The first, a surprising and delicious grapefruit, cucumber and fennel soup, was astonishing. Served cool with a drizzle of basil oil and some flecks of fresh mint, the soup was a bright, fresh start to the meal. A second course of radish and goat cheese ravioli (no pasta, kids, the radishes encase their lovely contents a bit like small sandwiches) was equally tasty and beautifully plated, and the final course of raw chocolate mousse with bits of peanuts was a delicious finish. For value, flavor and novelty, the “living” prix fixe is a pretty solid deal.
While one of us was fending off the others’ soup spoons, we also sampled a “living” pizza ($9), which featured a basil pesto, fresh cherry tomatoes, Brazil nut cheese and a seedy cracker crust. This one didn’t last very long at all, especially alongside a breezy white wine selection from the well-crafted list.
Two other entrees were very good, though fell short of breathtaking. A Roasted Acorn Squash ($19), served with roasted beets and a smattering of seasonings, was an ample and filling vegan dish. The flavor of the squash could have been given greater emphasis by tweaking the dish just a bit toward the sweeter side of the spectrum, however.
The Seared Diver Caught Scallops ($24), meanwhile, were perfectly prepared in terms of their texture, but came out a bit lukewarm. Plated with caviar and an interesting miso sauce, slippery enough in its flavor to avoid concise description, the scallops were very enjoyable but not quite a homerun.
Service at Organic Orbit was attentive and kind. But our server seemed still to be trying the living dishes on and was not totally comfortable with her knowledge of the finer components of the menu.
In Boulder—in many ways ground zero of the raw movement—the facts will need to be closer at hand.
If a few of these blips can be fixed and the word gets out about this North Boulder spot, then there’s a great chance to shine in a market flooded with earthy, sustainable cuisine.
1200 Yarmouth Ave., Boulder
Bottom line: The living food menu may be novel, but it’s also tasty. Watch this future star emerge.