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An LA Hound's Take on the Fort in Morrison

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An LA Hound's Take on the Fort in Morrison

TomSwift | Jul 5, 2006 03:56 PM

We were there last Saturday as the guests of a business associate. I'm very glad she paid. Bill Hunt advised below to get past the "folksy" aspect and he's right. There's a lot of kitch. The building complex is charming and we were there for the sunset which was beautiful. After dark the landscape lighting is dramatic.

The staff was extremely efficient, personable and attentive. The only problem was the food. When we talked to our friends who are Denver/Boulder natives we learned that the owner had died a few weeks earlier and that the death may have had some effect on the food but I don't think so. So to the food. To start we had the peanut butter stuffed Jalapenos ($5.95) (on Bill's advice) and they were a surprisingly good combination. Be forewarned, though, that the peppers are not seeded and the heat level is higher than the elevation of the Capitol in Denver. The Rocky Mountain oysters ($7.95) were innocent enough, nicely textured but tended to be over cooked so that the nice creamy flesh suffered. The real surprise was the roast Bison marrow bones ($15.95). Five generous femur bones with a delicious port reduction. The problem, however: They keep the bones frozen and then roast them to order. Not necessarily a bad idea except that our first order was properly cooked at each end of the shank bur still raw in the middle, in 2 cases still frozen in the middle. To their credit, when we pointed this out they took away the offending bones and replaced them with very properly cooked bones (albeit 35 minutes later). These were unanimously proclaimed delicious, and by 3 marrow lovers. Very good with thin sourdough crostini. Planning in advance I had brought my own marrow spoon but, behold, they had perfect marrow spoons for us all. A delightful dish when it finally came together.

The mains. On the advice of my client I had the 20 oz bone-in buffalo ribeye ($47.95). What a disappointment! Ordered rare, the flavor was wonderful and the char was to die for. However, the meat was so sinuey and stringy that only about 10% could be eaten. Now I know why there were no fat cowboys in the 1800's. The best part was the Irish "Champ" potatoes which I substituted for the shallot-cheddar mashed. These were smashed potatoes with lots of chopped green onions and were delicious.

The 8 oz Colorado beef filet mignon ($34.95) was announced to be a disaster and, after a taste, I agreed. Ordered medium-rare it arrived rare and had to be sent back. Our waitress asked if it would be OK to butterfly the meat, we said yes, and in 20 minutes a new steak (not a butterflied old one) arrived with an entirely new plate of veggies etc. This was cooked perfectly medium rare. However, here in LA for $35 we can get a nice hunk of prime beef. The menu did not claim that the beef was prime, only that it was from Colorado. This was the toughest piece of meat (let alone a filet) that I can remember. This was sent home with the client. Again, however, the char was perfectly delicious.

The Colorado lamb chops ($26.95) would have been a much better bet. Four double thick chops (4 ribs), this was almost a small rack of lamb. They were ordered too well done for my taste (I'm a rare lamb person) but the flavor was tremendous and the texture was perfect.

The full rack of buffalo ribs ($39.95) was proclaimed to be great but I didn't get a taste of the meat, only of the charred little ends which were delicious. This was about 12 ribs (huge) and most were taken home. The hostess's 89 year old mother managed to polish off two of them and was happy.

Dessert was a shared huckleberry creme brulee ($6.95) which everyone liked.

Drinks were 2 Sapphire martinis, 1 Absolute martini, a half caraffe of margarits, 2 bottles of wine ($45 a bottle range) and a coffee. Their wine list is extensive and fairly priced for the most part, but with the obligatory $500+ bottles.

The total before tip was $401 for 4 people. As I said, I'm glad that I wasn't paying. For $100+ pp I expect steak that is edible. I don't think I'd go back if I lived in the area. The space is charming, the staff is great and helpful but the food just didn't do it for us.

A special note on the staff: It might have been the drinks but more likely it was because we were very confused, but we could
not find our way back to downtown Denver to our hotel. So we drove back to the restaurant and asked directions. The manager was GREAT!. He ran a MapQuest for us, gave us his card, and said to call him personally if we got lost again and he'd talk us home. That made up for the bad meat.

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