When Jay Gust, president of Ascent Restaurant Group, announced in December the hiring of Brian Blasnek as executive chef for Tapateria and Pizzeria Rustica, he said he was looking forward to "new projects and concepts in the not-too-distant future."
Less than six months later comes the announcement of the group's third European concept: Smørbrød, a Scandinavian Bistro, 2727 N. Cascade Ave. The eatery, which features 20 open-faced sandwiches patterned after Denmark's national lunch, is slated to open in June next door to Goat Patch Brewing in the Lincoln Center. You also might see the sandwich spelled smørrebrød in online searches. According to Gust, the pronunciation is "smuhr-broht" and equates in Danish to "bread and butter."
"We'll be getting bread from Nightingale Bread," Blasnek said. "David (McInnis, owner of the bakery) is making us a slightly modified rye that is not as dense and without as a strong flavor as what you might find in Denmark."
Traditionally, the flat pieces of bread are hand-held and topped with herring, cheeses and meats.
Gust says: "We encourage you to dive in head first and do what feels right. Open-faced sandwiches present a challenge; picking up the smørbrød may result in a lap full of herring and dill. Instead, stick your middle finger up and slice that baby into small bites."
Patrons can enjoy a tour of Scandinavian foods along with drinks focused on Scandinavian vodkas, akvavits and cocktails on the large dog-friendly patio Visit: tinyurl.com/ybcgkm99.
He's the best
Alex Seidel, chef and owner of Fruition Restaurant and Mercantile Dining & Provision, both in Denver, has been named "Best Chef Southwest" by the James Beard Foundation. He competed against chefs from Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Colorado. Seidel is not new to standing in the winner's circle, having earned one of the more celebrated nods in the industry in 2010 when Food & Wine magazine named him one of 10 Best New Chefs. Denver Magazine called him Chef of the Year in 2009, 5280 gave him that title in 2008, and he has been a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef Southwest.
When not cooking at his award-winning eateries, Seidel is at his farm in Larkspur tending to or milking some 60 sheep. The ricotta from Fruition Farms Dairy (fruitionfarmscreamery.com) won a first-place award from the American Cheese Society in 2011. In addition to making cheese, Seidel raises a heritage pork breed called Large Black and has planted his 10-acre farm with fruits and vegetables to supply his restaurant kitchens.
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