It’s safe to say that Denver chef and restaurateur Frank Bonanno isn’t afraid to branch out. Since opening his flagship fine-dining French restaurant, Mizuna, in 2001, he’s debuted almost a dozen more eateries, spanning everything from fine-dining Italian (Luca) to an Asian noodle bar (Bones) to a sandwich shop (Salt & Grinder). But today’s opening of his downtown bistro, French 75, is a homecoming of sorts. “I was classically trained, and I always have an appreciation for French food,” Bonanno says.
Think of French 75 as Mizuna’s younger, more casual sibling. The two-story space—designed by Bonanno’s wife and partner Jacqueline—is lined with high-backed, gray upholstered booths, accented with pops of forest green, and dominated by a long, narrow open kitchen and zinc-topped bar smack in the center of the room. The menu—which is the same for lunch and dinner—is designed to appeal to Central Business District diners with familiar (old-school, even) fare.
Mizuna staples such as lobster macaroni & cheese and foie gras torchon are there, as are classics such as Crab Louis, sole meunière, and rich lobster bisque. For us, the can’t-miss dish is the half rotisserie chicken, served juicy and succulent with a tarragon-laced lemon buerre fondue sauce and a pile of crispy, spiced shoestring pommes frites. Pair it with a seasonal French 75 cocktail from the bar—whose program was designed by both Adam Hodak and Austin Carson— for a very satisfying meal.
717 17th St., Ste. B, 303-405-7575