Vincent Van Gogh once stated, “I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.” I, personally, agree, and am always searching for the right hue to emblazon my sometimes dull nighttime. One Starry Night, I found the vibrancy I needed at Palettes located across the street from the Denver Art Museum. Combining art and food, Palettes offers a special menu for each new exhibit that comes through the Denver Art Museum, and this carte du jour focused on the celebrated impressionist painter, Vincent Van Gogh. With food that sparks inspiration and martinis as colorful as they were scrumptious, Palettes did not fail to leave a lasting impression on me (clever, I know).
First, the ambiance.
Palettes is a clean and crisp canvas with flawless white walls adorned with paintings that add all the color this space needs. The understated manner of the intimate restaurant adds to its eloquence, and the sophisticated atmosphere makes it fitting for fundraisers, birthday parties, or even wedding banquets. A wall of windows makes the space airy and fresh, and allows rays of sunshine during the day and a view of the Denver nightlife after dark.
Most importantly, the food.
Palettes has a wide variety of American contemporary cuisine that makes up its usual menu, but I would suggest the “Becoming Van Gogh,” menu for a inimitable French twist to your night out. To begin, try the baked Brie and baguette drizzled in lavender truffle honey and garnished with dried cherries. Normally, I am not a fan of honey (I know, it is weird), but the lavender truffle honey is one thing I would keep my pantry stocked with, and the dried cherries add a sweet flavor to this French classic. If you are looking for something a little heartier, start off with the heirloom potatoes, asparagus, lardons and Pommery mustard salad. The Pommery mustard has an interesting taste that is both tangy and rich and makes an inventive dressing.
Plus, you can never go wrong with lardons.
For the main course, order the Coq Au Vin, pearl onions, confit mushrooms, and fingerling potatoes. Savory and satisfying, this meal is a veritable French delicacy that will make you feel as though you were sitting on the Place du Tertre. As the meat falls effortlessly off the bone, it is clear that the chicken is marinated for a long amount of time and is able to retain the delicious juices of the sauce.
The best part?
It is not just “pretty food.” The portions they give are enough to appease any hunger. Let us not forget the delicious and creative martinis that Palettes created for the “Becoming Van Gogh” menu. Made with smooth Van Gogh Vodka, Palette’s martinis are a work of art. The Vincent was especially superior. Consisting of Van Gogh Blue Triple Wheat Vodka, ginger liqueur, blueberry and lemon juices and garnished with a skewer of blueberries, The Vincent was a spicy yet breezy masterpiece. The Netherlands martini was another exceptional treat, made with Van Gogh Pomegranate, elder flower liqueur, lemon and finished with a splash of soda and a Rosemary sprig garnish. Make The Netherlands martini the refreshing staple to your night out, and pick up a bottle of Van Gogh Vodka which comes in many exclusive and diverse flavors unlike any vodka you have tasted before. Palettes is perfect for those looking for a day of culture. Spend time perusing the intriguing exhibits at the Denver Art Museum, and then continue satisfying your art cravings just across the street.