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I’ve been a fan of chef Olav Peterson‘s culinary talents for years—first when he was at Bistro One on South Broadway, and now at Bittersweet, his ambitious farm-to-table restaurant in Wash Park. (See our review.) Whatever the night or season, you can count on Peterson’s menu to incite wonder. While you might picture seafood gumbo as a large bowl of stew, Peterson envisions it as a neat round of shrimp risotto, topped with tidy slices of Andouille sausage, and draped with head-on fresh prawns and crunchy okra tempura. Spicy and satisfying, the entrée is also—like all of Peterson’s dishes—dazzling to look at.
Dessert is similarly impressive. The two-year-old restaurant, which has racked up many sweet accolades (the cherry pie! the mint ice cream!), recently hired pastry chef Dannielle Vanasse to replace Danielle St. John. Vanasse’s playful creativity complements Bittersweet’s vision. In her bacon dessert, pictured, a paintbrush smear of caramel made from bacon fat anchors a scoop of maple-pecan ice cream. Funnel cake curlicues adorn the ice cream and bite-size bits of candied bacon and cinnamon-sugar cracklings add needed crunch. All together, the treat is sweet, smoky, aromatic, and hearty enough to stand up to the last bit of red wine in your glass.
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