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Simply Superb


I started taking French classes in the eighth grade, despite my parents’ suggestions that Spanish might be more useful. They might have had a point, but I precociously told them that French was the language of diplomacy.

I became an instant Francophile and wanted desperately to go with my classmates when the French club planned a trip, but I didn’t end up visiting until my honeymoon, firmly cementing France’s place in my heart.

So it is no wonder that I find French food utterly romantic in the most indescribable of ways. It’s not the froofy over-indulgent gastronomic visions of five-star chefs that turn me on, but rather the pure simplicity of French country food, of Parisian home cooking that makes my heart pound.
Brasserie Ten Ten in Boulder is a pleasant approximation of a Parisian brasserie, with the characteristic dark wood, tiled floors and white butcher paper on the tables. The space is much larger than any bistro I ever entered in Paris, and the tables spread further apart—which, to an American, is definitely not a draw back.

My husband and I were glad to let our waiter guide us through the wine list and ended up with a delightfully crisp Californian Sauvignon Blanc at his suggestion, which was a grapefruit-laden, understatedly bitter foil to our meal. We ordered the chips comme avant to start, which the menu described as potato chips with sun-dried tomatoes and bleu crème, but which, our waiter confided, the staff lovingly calls “French nachos.” The chips definitely veered toward the over-indulgent end of the spectrum, but they were too ridiculously luscious for me to care. I watched my husband scrape the last of the bleu cheese crème up with a spoon before he allowed the plate to be taken away.

After two salade simples—which lived up to their name superbly—our entrées arrived. My husband ordered the Long Family Farms pork tenderloin, which was plated in a gorgeous tower atop Himalayan red rice, jalapeño-thyme pistou and steamed turnips. The jalapeño was an unusual choice, we thought, but gave the dish an aromatic kick without overpowering the other flavors. My husband was duly impressed, but I was too busy making goo-goo eyes at my entrée to really give his the time of day.

I had it on good authority that the brique poulet, a recent addition to the menu, was one of the owner’s personal favorites and as soon as it arrived, it was clear why. Nothing could have been simpler, yet I couldn’t imagine anything more ideal. Half a free-range chicken had been dusted in salt and tarragon before being roasted to golden perfection and served simply with frites and steamed vegetables. It was the sort of meal you might expect to be served on an enormous, ancient wooden farmhouse table in someone’s kitchen, lovingly prepared for the Sunday afternoon meal. I was transported by the beauty and simplicity of the dish, back to the France of my fondest dreams.

As we finished our meal, full of loving remembrances of our magical week in Paris, we were tempted by the dessert menu. I ordered an espresso—a habit of our nights in the City of Light, though rare at home—and we settled on the tarte tatin. Silky butter-poached apples arranged attractively atop a patê Breton cookie were served with a fine vanilla ice cream and a caramel nutmeg ganache, which was a little heavy on the nutmeg. A sweet ending to a fine meal and a delicious excuse for a trip down memory lane.

Brasserie Ten Ten
Four Stars
1011 Walnut Street, Boulder
Bottom Line: Whether you opt for indulgent or simple, the food is outstanding.


Lacy is an award-winning food writer and blogger. She lives in Westminster with her family. Google

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