My sister and I discovered dish! not too long ago, even though we’d been wanting to try it for years. It was on our Food To Do List. dish! isn’t your ordinary small plate restaurant—they embody the “Localvore” movement currently sweeping across America.
Jenna is the head chef at dish! and also a partner in ownership. She gets her ingredients literally from her backyard…there’s a planter out front which houses herbs and some veggies. In the summer, the Edwards Farmers Market is held in her parking lot, giving her access to fresh Colorado meat, eggs, the ripest Palisade Peaches, and vegetables grown here in the Rocky Mountains. Her menu reflects what’s in season and the yummy ingredients she found that day. I can’t even suggest a plate for you to try because her menu changes daily. It’s hard not to become attached to a favorite plate, but it’s reassuring to know whatever Jenna replaces it with will be equally as delicious.
This last trip, my sister and I went for dish!’s fourth birthday. We started off the evening with The Original and Bread. The Original is an amazing piece of serrano ham wrapped around a piece of manchego cheese. The ingredients are simple, the flavors delicious, and they truly come together when dipped in the dry sherry served with it. As for the bread, it’s served with olive oil, Hawaiian sea salt, and this awesome house churned butter which I (not quite jokingly) always want to take home with me.
For our second course we ordered the Tomato Basil Soup and a spanish stew (that isn’t on the menu anymore and I can’t really quite describe it besides magical). The tomato basil soup was rich and creamy, equally complemented with both the tomato and basil. The stew was a mix of peppers, spanish chiles, some other yum-o ingredients I can’t remember, and topped with a hen’s egg and served with bread. Luckily for me, I saved the butter from the first course.
I know you’re probably thinking my sister and I are piggies, but dish! has perfectly portioned small plates and even though we ordered a lot, we shared and were only slightly piggies. So there.
Next, we had the dolmaldes. The rice was perfectly cooked and seasoned, while the grape leaves still had a crisp to them and were prepared with their own wonderful seasoning. There were other ingredients in there as well, but I can’t remember what they were. Keeping with our Mediterranean theme of veggie plates, we ordered Gnocci with tomatoes, basil, and house made mozzarella. Good, hand made gnocci is hard to find—the texture was creamy but still firm, and the flavor stood up well with the caprese like ingredients of the dish. Jenna is damn good at her Mediterranean food, having spent time in Tuscany working at local restaurants. There’s an authenticity to her food which cannot be replicated.
To finish off our savory plates, we ordered Buffalo Carpaccio. It was served with a lemon vinaigrette which brightened up the meat, and rocket, sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan. The ingredients balanced each other out perfectly, and it was a nice contrast to the mainly vegetarian meal we had, which is funny considering my sister and I are big meat eaters.
For our sweet plates, we were torn between the Caramel Pudding and the Apple Cobbler. So of course, being the good women we are, we ordered both. Couldn’t let a good dessert go to waste. And, as per usual, Jenna didn’t disappoint! The texture of the pudding was fantastic—not to firm and not too runny. The caramel sauce generously drizzled on top was warm and gooey and provided a great contrast to the texture, flavors, and temperature of the pudding. The apple cobbler was also amazing—apples are in season right now in Palisade. The apples were cooked well, not too mushy, and the rhubarb (locally grown) added another depth to this dessert. I normally associate rhubarb with strawberry, but I think I might like it paired with apple instead! The oatmeal crumb topping was a great crunch factor, juxtaposing the creamy-ness of the apple and rhubarb filling. And, of course, Jessica’s favorite part of the entire dessert was the honeyed vanilla ice cream on top of the warm cobbler.
The drinks are equally as delicious! Many of their mixers are house made (including the lemongrass and other seasonal sodas). They take pride in their mixology, and their custom drinks vary with the seasons. There’s something on the menu for everyone, including beer snobs. Their beers are micro brews, many of which are Colorado beers. Cheers!
dish! has amazing food and drinks, yes, but what also makes them special in a country full of delicious restaurants is Jenna. Jenna really takes time and effort to make sure she prepares food from the heart. But what really blew me away was her attention to her clients. When we went in August, my sister was on a strict diet. Instead having her eat nothing but bread the whole night, Jenna came over to our table, wrote down the guidelines to her diet (and trust me, there were about 12), and prepared her a special 4 course menu to comply with all the dietary rules Jessica had to follow. When we go now, we sit up at the kitchen bar and watch—how methodological and precise every little detail is for every single plate. When she gets a break, Jenna will come over and chat about life, love, you name it. She truly has an interest in her patrons, many of whom she considers friends. She’s blessed with an amazing spirit and it more than translates to her food.