Friday Night Dinner at The Pinyon
August 19, 2011
Friday night we finally went to The Pinyon on Pearl Street in Boulder. Opened by Theo Adley, veteran of Boulder restaurants The Flagstaff House, Frasca, Radda Trattoria, and Pizzeria Basta among others, the Pinyon’s style of food invokes what Adley refers to as ‘artisanal mountain man food’. To be honest, I didn’t quite get the hype after we got through the salad course. But then we got to the entrées, and…oh, my! They were phenomenal. And dessert did nothing to disappoint, either.
We started with a mixed green salad, and an heirloom tomato salad with watermelon. The mixed green salad was largely just mixed greens with an herb dressing. The watermelon on the second salad was very tasty, and the pieces with part of the rind on them were an interesting twist, but I felt that the tomatoes were a bit too firm.
At this point I was a bit worried, but then once the entrées arrived, they had me completely. The first dish we got was hand-torn pasta with mushrooms, tomatoes, yellow squash, walnuts, and parsley puree. After digging into the pasta, I was very hesitant to trade with my husband (as we do with all meals out), because I didn’t really want to give this one up. The pasta itself was perfectly cooked, and quite flavorful, but the taste of everything on it was spectacular. It had a flavor that I can only describe as bright, rich, and warm, all at the same time. Not words that I would normally use together, but that’s all I can come up with. Sadly, all too soon, I was at the halfway point and had to trade for the fish special.
But once I tasted the fish, I kind of forgot the pasta (well, not entirely – I still watched every bite my husband took, fantasizing that maybe he’d be too full to finish). I’m not even entirely sure what was in the sauce on the fish, but it was perfect. I’m just guessing here, because I always do an unbelievably bad job of listening to the exact preparation of specials (which is how I ended up ordering a dish with foie gras, back when I wasn’t eating it at all). I believe had it had lemon in addition to olive oil, but the magic was was some kind of herb or spice combination that made me wish I had a spoon to scoop up the remaining sauce when I was done. And there are few things that beat fresh sweet corn.
I actually thanked the waitress for taking away our empty plates before I picked them up and licked them clean. (Not to worry, I really only considered it for about 5 seconds). We narrowed dessert down to two choices, bourbon glazed donuts, and chocolate bread pudding, but couldn’t make a decision. So we did what we normally do in that case, and asked the waitress what she would recommend. She quickly recommended the bread pudding, and I am oh so glad that she did. It was entirely different from other bread puddings I’ve had, and completely wonderful. The bread was firmer in this one than most, and had clusters of chocolate kind of nestled in the bread, topped with a scoop of chocolate ice cream. I’m not doing it justice at all with this description. You just have to trust me – it rocked.