Last October the now-esteemed French restaurant Morin, from Culinary Creative, opened its doors. Since then, the self-described purveyor of “Super Dope French Food” — housed in the former Wazee Supper Club — has served up some of the year’s most exciting and innovative cuisine. On Monday, March 25 the formerly dinner-only venue will start lunch service during the week from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The new menu is rife with all the same sophistication as the dinner offerings. The kind of elegant plating, decadent accouterments and creative takes on dishes, both modern and classic, that we’ve come to expect from the spot are delivered with convenience in mind. While dinners at Morin can — and should — turn into lavish, multi-hour bacchanals, lunch is presented in such a way that you don’t have to sacrifice decadence while in a hurry.
The menu is divided into starters, salads, plates and sides. The potato beignets ($9) are an absolute must. The crunchy, puffed pastries are served with chermoula and black garlic. They should be devoured straightaway to enjoy the full effect of their glistening crisp. The croque madame ($13) — one of the several sandwich options also including a burger and banh mi — is jambon de Paris pressed between two thick cuts of house-made bread, smothered in bechamel, topped with a healthy portion of melted gruyere and finally laden with a fried egg. While a bib is not required, well-dressed business people of downtown be warned — this sandwich is highly dangerous but worth the risk. For those with simpler, but no less exquisite taste the grilled cheese and tomato soup ($13) with gruyere and muenster takes on the childhood classic with discerning palates in mind. The result is heartwarming but nostalgia has nothing to do with the dish’s considerable merit.
The kale salad ($14) is so ornate it could easily be mistaken for an exhibit at the botanic gardens. Combining finely chopped, and thoroughly massaged kale with pickled apples, puffed grains, chevre and sorrel — the salad is a lesson in what can be achieved with the often mocked green. Great care has been taken to make the stuff not only edible but deeply palatable. The thinly-sliced leaf has been prepared to overcome its most common pitfalls — being neither tough nor flavorless.
If you’re trying to go full-luxury there is also the six-ounce bistro steak ($22) — a succulent bavette, with pistounade and fried shallot. While the menu is relatively concise it manages to have the makings for vastly different lunch experiences. Short, sweet and healthy is surely there but grandeur is never out of reach.
Beverage directors McClain Hedges and Mary Wright — of RiNo Yacht Club and The Proper Pour — have been busy concocting house a variety of non-alcoholic house fermentations from a variety of ingredients including blueberry, scoby and a variety of bitters. The beverages are served and garnished in the same ornate style as the regular cocktails with the goal of giving drinkers and non-drinkers alike a chance to enjoy the culture without necessarily having to tie one on.
The restaurant’s decision to open for lunch just as the city starts to thaw its way into spring is well-timed. The bright, open interior is especially splendid in the afternoon. Whether you are seeking a quick and well-crafted lunch while on the job, or are hoping to soak up the afternoon and leisure your way directly into happy hour, Morin’s expanded availability couldn’t have come sooner.
Morin is located at 1600 15th St., Denver. It is open Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Saturday 5 – 11 p.m. and Sunday 5 – 10 p.m.
All photography by Alden Bonecutter.