I've been enjoying happy hour at Trillium for a while and finally made it for a full dinner last week. This is a deceptively ambitious restaurant that strikes a nearly perfect balance between uptown polish and Lodo casual. Many of the Scandinavian-influenced menu items are unique and well executed, the bartenders are bona fide cocktail pros, and the service is flawless. Menu highlights include:
*Any of the cocktails (seriously, these guys are as good as any cocktailian bartenders I've encountered in Denver, although I prefer to go with something classic rather than ordering off the menu since their "creative" selections seem a bit convoluted to me);
*The aquavit cured salmon and fried fish (either smelts or walleye pike) from the smorgasbord menu (the ham mousse, terrine, and pickled shrimp are also quite good but not on the same level as these two dishes);
*The raaka (sort of a Scandinavian salmon tartare spiked with horseradish) from the small plates section of the menu;
*The grilled whitefish with mashed potatoes and beet puree.
FWIW, we had dinner at Frasca and Trillium on consecutive nights last week and both of us liked Trillium more, and it was a little more than half the price of Frasca. I realize this is a bit of an apples to oranges comparison, but if sheer enjoyment is the proper metric Trillium definitely won the day.