Black Cat Farm~Table~Bistro: Oohs and Aahs

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Dinner at Boulder’s Black Cat Farm~Table~Bistro is a superb experience, from the cozy, romantic setting to the food, each morsel more tempting than the last. Chef Eric Skokan and his team aim to delight from the moment diners cross the threshold of the “lucky” 13th Street eatery. Menu items are prepared using ingredients grown on Skokan’s Black Cat Farm.

The welcome is warm and the service attentive. Banquette seating around the perimeter of the room allows for intimate dining as well as good vantage points for people watching. The décor includes artisan pillows, a variety of fabrics, pine paneling, and black & white photography. Co-founder Jill Skokan has described the restaurant as the kind of place she would like to go for date night with her husband. As evidenced by the many couples sitting around the room, she has succeeded.

A nice way around a tempting menu fraught with indecision among diners (too many good choices) is to order a Chef’s Tasting Menu:

* Turnip Soup drizzled with almond oil and garnished with finely chopped almonds and dried arugula flowers. Sommelier Sean paired the soup with a sparkling wine made using méthode champenoise, the golden NV Chateau Monocontour, Vouvray, Tête de Cuvée, Loire, France. The subtle textures and flavors in the soup were an elegant complement to the bubbles, which had ample fruit and acid for the soup.

* Foie Gras Terrine with foraged cherries and pistachio on a phyllo cracker. Sommelier Sean brought the next wine, a fragrant white wine, with the disclaimer sweeter wines served with the meal indicate there is a creamy treat ahead. 2011 BookCliff Vineyards Muscat Blanc “Late Harvest” paired decadently with the liver. The tart cherries made the pairing pop.

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* Beet Cured Red Trout with sturgeon aioli and dill flower. Sommelier Sean paired it with 2011 François Cazin Cour-Cheverny “Le Petit Chambord,” Loire Valley, France. The wine offered some delicate flavors and a burst of minerality. Natural companions: fish and white wine.

* Rabbit Agnolotti with rabbit broth and egg, paired with 2012 Produttori del Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, Langhe, Italy. Thanks to malolactic acid, the first whiff of wine smelled like buttery caramel corn straight from the oven. However, that scent evaporated, leaving roses and leather. On its own the wine was acidic to the point of being astringent. However, when paired with the handmade rabbit pasta, it was in contention for the favorite pairing of the night. Delicious!

* Pork prepared two ways: tenderloin and slow-cooked ham, garnished with salsa verde, fennel, braised Beluga lentils, and beets. Sommelier Sean paired it with a wine from the Finger Lakes, 2011 Hermann J. Weimer, Cabernet Franc, Seneca Lake, New York. The complex red wine and its earthy, vegetal notes was a crowd-pleaser.

* Duo of Colorado Beef on a bed of barley salad and mushroom ragout, paired with 2011 Domaine Fontaine du Clos, Vacqueyras “Reflets de l’âme,” Rhône Valley, France. The beef selections were melt-in-your-mouth smooth. The wine supported both cuts, contributing fruit and acidity to the fat and flavor on the plate.

Foie gras, trout, rabbit, and beef, each paired with a wine to let its flavors shine. It was hard to pick a favorite course, but not at all hard to count Black Cat among our favorite Front Range restaurants. Meals like this put the “food” in foodie!

Until our next adventure in wine and food…

Black Cat Farm~Table~Bistro
1964 13th Street
Boulder, CO 80302
Neighborhood: Pearl Street Mall, Downtown Boulder


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