I have never been to Paris. I should be completely upfront about that before this review gets going. But I have seen movies, looked at pictures and read books that talk about Paris. I generally have a low opinion of the place. I’m not really that into duck. I like tall buildings and the smell of people who bathe regularly. Even Hemingway’s undying love for the city still left me unconvinced. For all these reasons, I really didn’t hold out much hope when my girlfriend suggested that we check out Z Cuisine and A Cote in the Highlands. But after dining at Z Cuisine, I didn’t feel like moving to Idaho and biting the big one. No it was more like Owen Wilson at the end of Midnight in Paris. I really considered dumping Rachel McAdams and trying to meet a girl on an I-25 overpass.
What’s happening at Z Cuisine and A Cote is really remarkable. The restaurant and bar are two separate spaces within a beautiful brick lined two story building. When you walk into the bar you are greeted with low lighting and a black and white French film projecting silently on the wall. At the bar, there is an assortment of liquors and the bar staff will concoct for you some beautifully adventurous French cocktails. I love whiskey, especially unknown whiskey. Z Cuisine pays homage to it’s Western location by stocking delicious High West Whiskey. I tried the American Prairie Reserve which is a blend of straight Bourbons from Utah. The bartender then suggested I try Campfire. This blend of Scotch, Bourbon and Rye whiskeys is absolutely the most unique liquor I have ever drank. If you like Scotch, it’s worth the trip just to try this out.
The waitress, who had been working in the dining room, came to the bar to retrieve us. We walked outside down the sidewalk to the dining room. No movies running here. Just French flags, French art and one menu written on a chalkboard for the whole dining room to see. Don’t worry about being able to read the chalkboard in the dim light because your waiter, attired in a tweed flat cap, will astutely recite the menu to you by heart. Bring a notebook because each item will sound better than the last. The wine list, appropriately, skews French. We drank the house red wine by the glass. Big and bold, it’s a good option for anyone trying to contain the costs of eating upscale French food.
We started with the fondue. No waterfalls of cheddar and long forks for dipping. This was a baked blend of French cheese in a creme brulee dish. If there were straws, I would’ve slurped it.
For dinner I had the slow cooked beef option. I don’t throw this word around lightly, but it was succulent. The lady had the duck special which was also incredible. They were served with an au gratin style potato side. Potatoes and cheese is right in my wheelhouse.
Sometimes it’s the most basic dishes that tell you the most about a chef and a restaurant. I won’t go to a French restaurant without trying the creme brulee. For the same reasons I always order tiramasu whenever I go to an Italian restaurant. You need to make your layups. The creme brulee at Z Cuisine and A Cote is more like a Tony Parker up-and-under reverse layup. For those that don’t know, Tony Parker is a French basketball player who plays for the San Antonio Spurs. And the creme brulee at Z Cuisine is as smooth and creamy as Tony Parker’s game.
So you’re probably wondering, Keenan have you dropped your personal animosities towards all things French? Will you bathe less and watch more silent films? Might you even stop using the phrase “Freedom Fries” after dining at such an outstanding French establishment? My answer: maybe. But we have certainly made some progress. And if you want to make some progress towards gastronomical delight, then I suggest you start making some progress towards Z Cuisine and A Cote in the Highlands.
Z-Cuisine (Dining Room)
Wednesday-Sat: 4:30 PM – 10:00 PM
2239 W. 30th Avenue Denver, CO 80211
À Côté (Bar)
Tuesday: 4:30 PM – 10:00 PM
Wednesday-Sat: 4:30 PM – 12:00 AM
2239 W. 30th Avenue Denver, CO 80211