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French 75's lobster bisque. Photo by Callie Sumlin

French 75 Opens Today

Frank Bonanno is back, this time with a casual French bistro in the heart of downtown.

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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.

Half rotisserie chicken with lemon buerre fondue and pommes frites.

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

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