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There are a few things that you’ll see again and again at Denver restaurants: green chile, burgers, bearded dudes wearing hiking sandals and socks. How about high-end, modern French fare in an unpretentious setting? Not so much—until Morin opens tomorrow in the former Wazee Supper Club space. Read on for nine more things you need to know about LoDo’s new stunner.
1. The team is tops
Culinary Creative Group (also of Señor Bear, Bar Dough, and Tap and Burger, with Maine Shack and Ash’Kara in the works) partners Max Mackissock, Juan Padro, and Katie O’Shea have recruited stellar talent for Morin: Blake Edmunds is heading up the kitchen; Kevin Burke (formerly of American Bonded and Colt & Gray/Ste. Ellie) and Michael Cerretani (formerly of TAG Restaurant Group and Blackbelly) will direct service; and McLain Hedges and Mary Allison Wright (also of the RiNo Yacht Club and the Proper Pour) are in charge of the beverage program. That’s a lot of Mile High City talent under one roof.
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2. Morin has completely transformed the Wazee Supper Club
Gone is, well, most of what defined the long-running beer-and-pizza spot on the corner of 15th and Wazee streets. The Morin crew, with the help of Raw Creative, opted to keep much of the building’s brick exposed (uncovering some very pretty stained-glass windows in the process), but they built a completely new ovular bar in the center of the room with a striking net-like white art installation above it. The old black-and-white-checked flooring has given way to warm walnut wood, and those turquoise booths have been replaced with tan leather banquettes and cozy gray fabric-upholstered mid-century seating. The low-ceilinged mezzanine area now features intimate tables and a lounge area where patrons can sip cocktails and slurp oysters.
3. The wine program is 100 percent natural
Natural wine (aka vino produced with minimal winemaker intervention) has been trending on both coasts for a while, but Denver is finally getting its very first all-natural wine list at Morin. Hedges and Wright have curated around 150 bottles, 16 by the glass options, and two kegged Folk Machine house wines to choose from. If you’re more of a classic Cab or Chardonnay person, the sommeliers will be happy to walk you through the intricacies of the menu’s lesser-seen varietals, such as Xarel-lo or Poulsard.
4. You’ll want to save room for dessert
It’s a good time to have a sweet tooth in the Mile High City, as evidenced by pastry chef William O’Leary’s creative desserts. A vet of the Kitchen, the Squeaky Bean, and Cloverdale, his take on the English staple Eton Mess features lemon pudding, palm sugar pavlova, brown butter mousse, sorrel, and “apple variations.” His cigar-shaped, carrot buttercream-adorned Mont Blanc bears almost no resemblance to the mountain of chestnut purée and whipped cream that characterizes the classic, but it’s absolutely delicious nonetheless and delivers fantastic crunchy-creamy textures. There are also petit fours on the menu (think: goat milk caramels and orange bon bons) priced at two for $3.50 for those who just can’t commit to to eating a whole citrus cremeaux after a meal.
5. An entire section of the menu is devoted to potatoes
Carb dreams really do come true! Leek-potato soup adorned with a crispy potato nest, the potato waffle known as rösti, and a potato gratin are all present at Morin to fulfill your spud cravings. The top tater offering, however, belongs to Morin’s aligot, an ultra-rich potato purée infused with so much Cantal cheese that it stretches like taffy when you fork it up from its pool of green allium butter. You will not be able to leave a bite behind.
6. Morin is channeling the katsu sando trend
Chefs have been turning out, well, chef-y versions of katsu sandwiches (a Japanese invention typically involving a fried pork cutlet on white bread) for a while now, and Edmunds and Mackissock have concocted their own take: tender, mousseline-bound veal sweetbreads, crunchy pickle slices, and vadouvan aïoili on fluffy house-made milk bread. The appetizer-sized snacks are so tasty, we’re betting that they’ll convert anyone who’d normally shy away from ordering sweetbreads.
7. The restaurant is personal for Mackissock
If you venture up to the mezzanine level, you’ll notice Mackissock’s framed family photos of sun-soaked swims at beaches in Normandy, France, where his family has deep roots. And the lacy, white iron fixture hanging in front of Morin’s stained-glass windows is an abstract map of the Normandy coast.
8. Despite the upscale French food, Morin is going for a casual vibe
While you may not be able to pronounce 99 percent of the dishes on Morin’s menu without embarrassing yourself, the restaurant feels casual and relaxed rather than stuffy or snooty. Prices are reasonable, too, with the most expensive entrée ringing in at $29. (That said, if you do feel like dropping serious cash, there is a shareable 22 ounce bone-in 7x wagyu rib-eye for $80.)
9. Booze-free beverages shine at Morin
Leave it to Hedges and Wright to nail every detail of the beverage service. Take, for example, Morin’s iced tea offering, a caffeine-free Rare Tea Cellars blend called Fields of France Rooibos, which comes with a lush garnish of fresh mint and lemon peel. There are also lacto-fermented sippers, such as the orange-fennel-and-vanilla “Moringina” soda, which should make DDs and teetotalers very happy. Took a Lyft? Explore the natural wine list, or sip on a beautifully presented martini. In other words, you can’t go wrong.
Morin opens on Thursday, October 11. Hours span Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m.
1600 Wazee St., 303-534-9979