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The lunch-only kale salad at Morin is a riot of color and texture thanks to ribbons of kale, cubes of pickled apple, morsels of Haystack Mountain chèvre, puffed farro, and crispy quinoa.

A Sneak Peak at Morin’s New Lunch Service

The chic LoDo restaurant begins serving its take on the midday meal—as well as a new happy hour menu—on Monday, March 25.

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When I learned that Morin would soon start serving lunch—the new menu rolls out on Monday, March 25 at 11 a.m.—my first thought was: What does lunch at Morin look like?

It’s a glamorous, upscale restaurant, for one thing, fitting seamlessly into the sparkly new LoDo culinary scene that encompasses Jovanina’s Broken Italian, LeRoux, and Tavernetta. A place where you can add Périgord truffles or seared foie gras to your supper for a supplemental fee, and where caviar is an hors d’oeuvres (albeit a pretty damn reasonable hors d’oeuvres at just $8). At Morin, chef-owner Max Mackissock anchors those high-end ingredients with contemporary culinary techniques and a playful vision of what modern French food (and drink) can be. All of which leads to a lunch offering that is far less stuffy than you might assume and, from what I’ve tasted so far, downright delicious.

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Here’s a sneak peak at the midday meal as imagined by Max Mackissock, chef de cuisine Charles Matthews, and the culinary team at Morin.

The Vietnamienne salad is a fork-and-knife affair in which strands of pickled green papaya, cucumber, and carrot are rolled in cabbage leaves, dressed with nuoc cham, and topped with roasted peanuts, fried shallots, fresh herbs, and your choice of crispy pork, shrimp, and/or chicken.
The croque madam is as decadent as it looks, made from layers of toasted house-made Japanese milk bread, jambon de Paris, Gruyère, creamy green garlic béchamel, and, of course, a fried egg perched prettily on top.
These deeply caramelized potato wedges—akin to steak fries—are called “croustillant” on Morin’s menu, which translates as crispy. Whatever they’re called, each Yukon potato is brined overnight, steamed until falling-apart tender, fried at a low temperature, frozen (to separate the skin from the potato flesh), and then fried again at a high temperature for a soft interior and an ultra-croustillant exterior. Seasoned with salt-and-vinegar powder, they are outrageously tasty.
No lunch menu is complete without that iconic tomato soup-grilled cheese combo, and at Morin, it’s executed with flair. The velvety soup is made with DiNapoli tomatoes, aromatics, cream, and basil, and garnished with tarragon oil; the grilled cheese pairs Morin’s Japanese milk bread with gruyere and muenster.
This tuna tartine once graced the original menu at the Squeaky Bean in LoHi, but as of next week, it will be available at Morin in all of its buttered, toasted French bread, cured and poached albacore tuna, avocado, aïoli, celery, and pine nut glory.
Bouillabaisse takes on a new form with this clever dish: lobster consommé infused with Pernod, fennel, and saffron is served alongside a Parisian shrimp toast made with lobster-butter-toasted milk bread, shrimp and espelette mousseline, and sweet pea rouille.

Beverage director Mclain Hedges has been tinkering too, creating an in-house library of fermented kombuchas, kefirs, and the like, as well as a line of non-alcoholic options with the depth and oomph of the original spirits. Think: an N/A “Champagne” and an Americano made with Hedges’ own “vermouth” and “Campari,” the former made with a verjus base and the latter concocted from three kinds of tea—created by Hedges, of course—and a gentian-rhubarb syrup.

As if that wasn’t enough, as of March 25, Morin will remain open on weekdays from the start of lunch service through dinner, featuring a revamped happy hour with $1.50 oysters, a host of refined snacks for less than $10 (including the aforementioned tartine, soup-and-grilled-cheese combo, and croustillant spuds), and a killer $10-or-less drink menu spanning aperitifs, natural wines by the glass, and Hedges’ excellent cocktails.

If you go: As of March 25, lunch runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday; happy hour on those same days is available from 2 to 6 p.m.

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