When you think about French food you likely imagine butter — lots of it. While butter is a staple in many French dishes, it doesn’t have to overpower the food. Sometimes it doesn’t need to be included at all. At LoHi’s newest restaurant — Noisette — Lillian and Tim Lu present French food in a delicate and refined style reminiscent of a quaint Parisian bistro.
As graduates of The French Culinary Institute in New York, opening a restaurant was always the goal for Lillian and Tim. They were classically trained in cooking French cuisine and had visited France numerous times, the question just became when and where. “We moved to Denver to be closer to family and wanted to be a part of the burgeoning food scene. There is more opportunity here to do that than in New York,” said Lillian. After scoping out the restaurants and figuring out what Denver lacked, the couple honed in on their idea for a combination bakery and bistro, with Lillian leading the bakery and Tim leading the restaurant.
The goal of both sides of Noisette is to create simple, delicious food that showcases the skilled French technique that Lillian and Tim have been perfecting throughout their culinary careers. “I’m tired of going to tasting menus and getting your palate blown out. I want to focus on a small menu with a couple really well done dishes. I want the two dishes that you do eat to be very memorable,” explained Tim. Both Lilian and Tim take time to create their dishes, refusing to cut corners. “With sauces there is so much technique that goes into it to make it good. It takes meticulous attention to detail,” said Tim.
Noisette’s menu is short and sweet, yet there is something for everyone. Of the hors d’oeuvres, you must order the baguette with house-made brown butter ($8). The creamy, rich, velvety texture of the butter melts deliciously into the crevices of the homemade bread. You’ll also want the bread to dip in the exquisite sauces that accompany each entree. In addition to that, you have your choice of vegetable-forward plates like badger flame beets with creme fraiche ($16) and tomatoes with basil and anchovies ($14). On the protein-forward side, you’ll see escargot ($17) and crepinettes with pork sausage ($24).
For the main courses — or plats principaux — you can choose from three fish dishes, three meat dishes and one vegetarian dish. The black bass ($36) with artichoke ragout and pureed potatoes is light yet filling with a generous portion of fish and the potatoes served on the side. The duck breast ($42) boasts a decadent duck and foie jus that you’ll be glad you saved your baguette for.
Dessert can’t be missed while dining at Noisette, but if you don’t have room you can always head there the following morning. The bakery and cafe serves sweet and savory French pastries including including a French Ham and Comté Croissant, Provençal Vegetable Tart, Almond Drageés, Pâté en Croûte, Cannelé and delicacies in the form of macarons, bonbons, and a signature Éclair Noisette in addition to coffee beverages.
Needless to say, Noisette is poised to make a big splash in Denver with its meticulous and refined French cuisine. Go for a quick pastry and coffee in the morning or linger a little longer for a delightful dinner in the evening, either way, you’ll be impressed.
Noisette is located at 3254 Navajo St, Denver. The restaurant is open Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday 5–9:30 p.m. and Friday – Saturday 5–10 p.m. The bakery is open Wednesday – Sunday 8 a.m.–3 p.m.