Restaurant Lovins: Aria

by Grace Boyle on May 2, 2011

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Whimsical, creative, full of puns and delightful you will find Aria in Cherry Creek, Denver.

The lowdown:

Name: Aria

Location: 250 Josephine Street, Denver, CO (Cherry Creek)

Cuisine: Fusion (French, Mediterranean, Spanish, Italian)

Aria, the newer sister restaurant of Opus (Littleton, CO) from Chef/Owner, Michael Long, offers fine dining with a slightly more casual and fun environment, lined with creative flair.

“I’m always trying to get away with as much creativity as possible, to push the boundaries and reel in my impulses,” explains Michael Long. “I don’t want to lose my audience, but for me, personally, food has to both taste good and entertain you in some way, whether it’s because of artistic presentation or an unusual flavor pairing.” -Via Westword Interview, 2009

While dining, mid-week in Denver at Aria, Chef Michael sat with us, talked about his vision, his quirky ideas on “whimsical” food, launching this second restaurant and how he has been in this industry since 1980 (I called him an OG).

The Food:

We started with bacon scented scallops with wilted spinach, caramelized cippollini and red wine caper jus. They poured a bacon scented candle over the scallops, so you just had a slight hint of the taste. The scallops were just dark enough, soft and juicy.

Our second appetizer was the sauteed duck schnitzel with spring berries, apple herb salad and sunny side egg. Here’s the creative side, look at how the egg is cut: unique, different, perfectly placed.

Next, Michael brought out three entree’s.

The first: thyme roasted pacific sea bass with carrot risotto, spring pea sauce and carrot crisps. This sea bass was one of my favorites, with a light hint of thyme.

Coriander grilled yellowfin tuna (medium rare) with pineapple kimchee, soy paint and a scallion pancake. Love the dish and presentation.

The beet goes on with spinach salad, Radek’s (of L’Atelier in Boulder) beet tartare, mustard dressing and gorgonzola. The earthiness of the beets, pair with the rich gorgonzola and mustard over the eggs wonderfully.

Our meals were paired with wine and for dessert, we had a delicious tawny port (center picture) that paired with the delicious, rich, decadent chocolate plate and liquid hazelnut, love.

One of the more creative pieces to this incredible dessert was the flexible white chocolate squares (see second picture) and the hint of fresh mint with the sauce and leaves. Notice the chocolate “A” for Aria?

In Conclusion:

Aria is a food geek’s dream. Michael and his team push the boundary with food and pairings. Style, presentation and creativity are just as much part of the delicious, well-crafted food that they serve. I can imagine a romantic date or out with a group of girlfriends dining at Aria – it’s catered to both. They are also open on Sunday for brunch.

Extra Goodness | Upcoming Aria Event: On May 11th, 6:30 PM Aria is hosting an Art vs. Science Dinner. A “gastronomical investigation” between Master Chef Michael Long and Ian Kleinman (The Inventing Room), The two chefs will competitively plate opposing takes on four main ingredients: scallops, tuna, beef and chocolate. More information here – to make your reservation call Aria right away: (303) 377-4012.

To leave you drooling, check out the sampling of food we dined on. Yes, hurry over to Aria.

Find Them:

Website: http://www.dinearia.com/

Twitter: @RestaurantAria

Facebook: Dine At Aria

Reservations: OpenTable | Walk-In’s also welcome.

Phone: (303) 377-4012

 

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  • http://www.highlandsranchfoodie.wordpress.com Lea Ann

    What beautiful plates of food. I do appreciate the art when presented with such creations. We missed you on Saturday.

    • http://gracefullplate.com grace

      Lea Ann, thank you! It was so artistic I almost felt bad eating 😉 It made it even better that the food tasted so delicious. I had a few friends in town so I couldn’t come on Saturday. Hope it was enjoyable. See you next time!

  • Chris

    The scallops, sea bass and yellowfin look DELICIOUS! I think the dessert plating is amazing. Your posts always make me hungry….

    • http://gracefullplate.com grace

      Thanks Chris! My hopes is that you always love the photos and stories here. Glad to hear you’re feeling hungry :) Try out Aria!

  • http://foodiethingsandapronstrings.blogspot.com/ Kelly

    I am going there tomorrow night. Its nice to get a preview of the evening. Thanks for sharing!

    • http://gracefullplate.com grace

      Let me know what you think! Enjoy :)

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