Restaurants & Bars 1

Six89 - Carbondale, CO

Brad Ballinger | Dec 6, 2011 10:00 AM

This Minnesotan was in Rifle, Colorado, attending to family matters. I was persuaded to check out Six89 based on comments in an old thread asking about recommendations in Glenwood Springs. The original plan was to eat at The Pullman in GWS, but found money was enough reason to "upgrade" to the bigger sibling restaurant south of town. We were able to get same day reservations for four without a problem for a Thursday night dinner.

Food: Six89 sources much of its ingredients locally and prepares its own cheeses and cured meats in house. Our starting dishes were ordered to take advantage of this. We started with a complimentary amuse that consisted of one slice of house-cured sausage with a dollop of house-made ricotta on top, garnished with an herb oil. Nice bite. We then ordered the devils on horseback. Six89's version included stuffing the dates with mascarpone before wrapping them in pancetta. Flavor was good, but presentation was sloppy. The pancetta was crispy and "wrapped" only halfway around each date, and had fallen off over half of them. The drizzled balsamic wasn't really needed.

From there we moved to steamed Prince Edward Island mussels and an order of house-made 6 month prosciutto, house-made burrata, with an arugula salad. The liquor from the shellfish combined with lemon, white white, and garlic scape butter had a lovely flavor, and the mussels were cooked perfectly -- soft without being chewy. the other dish never really came together. The inside of the burrata was wonderfully creamy, and the prosciutto had a nice flavor and texture. But it was hard to eat as a dish overall.

For entrees, two of us ordered the braised Berkshire pork shoulder on a bed of smoked mozzarella grits, garnished with a fennel apple slaw, and two of us ordered the grilled Colorado lamb loin chops with achiote barbecue sauce, hominy stew and avocado relish. All proteins were handled expertly, and the grits got a big thumbs up. The lamb dish only needed about half the sauce, but the hominy had a nice spice treatment. The avocado, however, seemed out of place.

So far, so good. Great attention to flavors, and only some minor instances of trying to do too much. But I think the restaurant fell down on the desserts. The special was a tapioca creme brulee, so we ordered one. Unfortunately, the custard was far too runny. The butterscotch budino (pudding), on the other hand did set. It was topped with salted caramel and cream. But it was served in a skinny tumbler that made it difficult to get balance from all three componenets in each bite, and the caramel could have used a bit more salt.

Wine, Etc. Extensive wine list featuring a wide variety of new world and old world selections. Reasonable priced. Great stemware for enjoying the wines. A similar extensive list of spirits, aperitifs, and digestifs. I tried their cucumber gimlet (cucumber-infused Leopold's gin, lime, St. Germain), and was surprised at how dill-y it was. I wouldn't think the cucumbers saw dill before infusion, but maybe that's just a character of Leopold's.

Service. Knowledgeable, professional, attentive, friendly. We enjoyed our service very much.

Decor/Ambience. Converted large house. Small rooms keep things intimate, but the noise level was moderate. Lots of wood, brick, and warm colors.

Price. Dishes priced well. Lots of local sourcing and on-site development may contiribute to setting good price points. Starters and salads: 8-12; large plates: 17-29; there are a la carte items that dishes don't need, but would be fun to share at table (including lobster mashed potatoes) that range from 4-6; and desserts are blessedly small and only 4.50 each.

If I lived in the area, I'd go back. On my next trip out, though, I'll give the little sibling a try.

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