As a home gardener who rejoices when I harvest miniscule Easter egg radishes or a handful of sugar snaps, I’m enchanted by Bittersweet‘s prolific gardens. I stopped by the Denver restaurant this week for a tour of the edible and inedible plants that range from Mr. Stripey tomatoes to sky-high delphinium. While I was there, chef-owner Olav Peterson planted chives (to discourage pesky aphids) and mint (destined for pastry chef Danielle St. John‘s phenomenal mint ice cream). He also harvested lettuces and braising greens like Tuscan kale.

And then, I got to sample that kale—quickly sautéed—in the rockfish entrée (pictured). “It’s important for people to try vegetables as they’re picked,” says Peterson. “You can taste the vibrancy and freshness.” He was right: The greens added a bright earthiness to the gorgeous stack of firm fish, sweet Norwegian crab, and the stunning, multidimensional vanilla consommé.

Peterson says it’s not unusual for diners to ask who the restaurant employs as a gardener. He laughs and says “It’s us. It’s our staff that pulls the weeds and harvests the vegetables. This is understanding food in its most basic and purest form.”

500 E. Alameda Ave., 303-942-0320

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.