What: Field-to-Table inspired American cuisine at Root Down’s brunch
Where: The Highlands, 1600 W. 33rd Avenue
When: Saturday-Sunday 10am-2:30pm
You’ve Got to Try: Refreshing cocktails and the Banana Bread French Toast while taking in city views on the spacious patio.
Like good jazz, Root Down is all about elements riffing off each other to form a harmony that is both smooth and surprising. From the smell of fresh herbs and veggies growing in the garden out front to the sizzling from the open kitchen and the colorful, eclectic décor, Root Down is a feast for the senses from the moment you arrive. Just like my experience at chef/owner Justin Cucci’s sister restaurant Linger, Root Down’s brunch is full of innovative takes on familiar dishes with plenty of Vegetarian and Gluten-Free options. A Highlands go-to for brunch, it does get busy, but the chatter from other guests only adds to the sense of eagerness as your eyes scan the menu. The hardest part of dining here is deciding what to order.
I’ve been hearing about the Bottomless Blood Orange Mimosas at Root Down for a long time, and they did not disappoint. Tangy and crisp, they are a great choice for sipping all through brunch, especially if you’re lucky enough to snag a table on the patio. There are plenty of other specialty cocktails to choose from if mimosas aren’t your style. I sampled their Moscow Mule, served in the traditional copper mug and made with house-made ginger beer, lime and vodka, this drink is simple and smooth.
Start off with the Daily Pastry Duo. Selections changes daily, but you can always count on fresh-baked taste and creative spreads. I got the chance to try a raspberry poppyseed scone with kumquat jam, great for munching alongside a mug of Denver-based Novo Coffee. A habanero pretzel with chive cream cheese completed the duo and woke up my taste buds with a dash of salty spice.
Though I prefer savory over sweet most mornings, the Banana Bread French Toast with it’s subtle sweetness yet decadent texture won me over. Moist banana bread is tempura-fried for a light crispness and accompanied by creamy chicory crème fraiche, chopped roasted peanuts and cocoa nibs for a slight crunch and a light citrus syrup. A side of fresh fruit completes the dish and offers a nice bite of acidity.
The most surprising dish was the Tofu “Scrambled.” Though I’m not a vegetarian, I’m always on the lookout for healthy dinging options that leave me just as satisfied as bacon and eggs. This dish made from roasted tahini, sunflower seeds, scallions, soyrizo, spinach, and nutritional yeast topped with fresh arugula and served alongside home fries made from a medley of potatoes is packed with flavor from fresh veggies straight out of Root Down’s two gardens (one on-site and another larger plot nearby). The soyrizo and tahini add a satisfying saltiness and the texture, normally my downfall when it comes to tofu-based dishes, was as familiar as any egg scramble.
A healthy brunch means you can make room for dessert. Root Down offers a changing menu of scrumptious treats for the end of your meal, many of which are also created with dietary restrictions oin mind. The 100% vegan and gluten-free Chocolate Truffle with Coconut was rich, but the coconut added a nice crunch and the avocado lime sorbet served on top cut the sugariness with a cool citrusy punch.
Because Root Down is committed to using fresh ingredients and staying true to wherever inspiration takes them, menu items change often giving diners the chance to have an adventurous brunch, even if you’re a Root Down regular.
You can also check out our recommendations for Root Down’s Happy Hour Specials here.