Follow @ChefJam on Insta. Also, follow Chef Barclay C. Dodge: @Bosqaspen and @Barxo.
Bosq: Tiny Kitchen. Bold Flavors
Barclay and I started our restaurant careers roughly at the same time at Mezzaluna in 1989. He was in the kitchen as a prep cook and I was a smartass busboy. Our careers took different twists and turns but we ended up working together again in 1996 at Renaissance with Charles Dale. This time I was the Sous Chef and he was hired as the grill guy. We worked right next to each other in a very tiny kitchen every night. It was a blast and I have stories, really great stories, but then that’s not the reason I’m writing today.
When asked by Aspen Real Life’s Editor to write a review on Barclay’s latest restaurant, Bosq, I was excited and then nervous as I have never written a review before, especially about a friend and colleague. Also, I can’t really express how I feel about most people who write about food. The day has come when anyone with an appetite and a mobile device is a food writer. LOL!
Bosq Restaurant Review
So, Bosq! Walking in you are swept off your feet by friendly faces, wonderful smells and an atmosphere that sucks you right in. My friend Doug, who I’ve known for as long as Barclay, came with me for what will be my first dining experience with Barclay since Mogador. That’s a whole other story that all I can say about is, “chickpea fries”.
We start at the bar with a shot of Fernet. If you don’t know this drink don’t worry about it. It’s like grown up Tuaca, or something like that. To say the least, I didn’t like it much, but then I’ll do another one later just to make sure.
The Bosq Experience
We sit down and our server comes over and asks if we’d like a drink, “Why, yes please!” Vodka Martini? Sure. Now let’s get started because I haven’t eaten in like four hours and I’m frickin’ stavin’! Barclay starts us off with his Chicory Tostada + Benton’s “deviled” country ham + quail egg + scallion dusting.
Seriously? Are you kidding me? This is all I need! I’ll just have 10 orders please. I mean honestly, I couldn’t eat it fast enough. Barclay did come and explain the process of how he created each component of the tostada, but you’ll have to ask him as I was way too busy thinking about the next course which began with; tempura shiitakes, creamy soy and Burrata, radicchio, beets and pistachio. The Shiitakes were crispy, and with the creamy soy, wonderfully savoy. Doug and I fought a little bit over the Burrata. I’m a big believer in a balance of savory, sweet, acid and texture, right there is a real bullseye for getting a dish right. This dish was a direct hit. We would take a bit of the Burrata, beets and pistachio and scoop it up onto the radicchio, it was a magical journey for my palette.
Next course! Crab, avocado mosaic, hearts of palm, citrus, jalapeno and scallops, brown butter, ricotta gnudi, artichokes and sea beans. The crab dish with all of its elements combined on my fork was so clean and delicate with flavor made for one perfect bite. Fresh Hearts of Palm? Where do you see those anymore? It made the dish for me. The scallop dish was the complete opposite; rich and luscious in every way. I went back and forth between the two as the crab dish would brighten my palette and the other, envelope it. Barclay does this incredible job of layering and hiding unexpected flavors in his food.
For our last course we ordered the Peking Duck, because if you have never been to Bosq this is what you do. Hold on a minute, here comes our Chef with something other than our duck. What could it be? I wanted to order the Winter Steak Tartare with crispy sesame artichokes, rice chicharrónes and Celeriac with smoked country ham & hazelnuts. The Celeriac is cooked in Sustainable Setting biodynamic soil, but didn’t want to get too full. Too late! I’m digging deep and eating it all.
I loved the Steak Tartare and could eat this every day. The crispy rice chicharrónes are ridiculous, as I’m starting to realize so is this whole meal. What? Celeriac is usually a side dish. But here it is thrust into its own starting roll. Wow so ballsy and yet so mind blowing I’ve been thinking about it for days now. The earthiness and charcoal flavors just have been driving me to distraction.
Make Your Reservations at Bosq!
Needless to say, I’ll be back and soon. There’s so much more to try and the menu changes. Oh, what happened to the Duck you ask? And the two sides we ordered; butter poached shiitakes and roasted brussel sprouts?To go please! And it didn’t go to waste. I came home from work and ate all of it as a late-night snack. Damn! If only more late-night snacks could be like that.
More on Chef C. Barclay Dodge
[su_box title=”Bosqaspen.com”]Chef C. Barclay Dodge has spent the last thirty years traveling to exotic places from North Africa, the Mediterranean, South East Asia, Central America, Australia and all over Sub-Sahara Africa. The flavors & cultures of the East have always intrigued him and he finds himself heavily delving into the markets, restaurants (white tablecloth and street food) and cooking classes whenever he travels. Working in Michelin starred restaurants in Spain and New York are also where he draws immense inspiration. Originally from Aspen, cooking quickly became a deep love of Chef Dodge’s since the restaurants were one of the few places that would employ the youth. For the last twenty-five years, he has traveled and cooked between Aspen and other parts of the country and globe. He developed a great reputation and clientele and the community is always curious as to what is next for the talented chef. [/su_box]
More on Chef James Mazzio
[su_box title=”Westword.com”]According to Westword Magazine, Food & Wine named James Mazzio 1999’s Best New Chef when he was cooking at the legendary 15 Degrees in Boulder. After that restaurant closed, Mazzio worked at various ventures and eateries around Denver — ranging from Neighborhood Flix to the also defunct Red Star Deli in the Ice House, which got a rave review from Gretchen Kurtz when Mazzio was in the kitchen. … then moved on to Basalt, where he opened Sure Thing Burger… The restaurant in the center of town focuses on local produce, including local beef [never treated with chemical additives][/su_box]