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Sunday, May 8, 2011


I'm not normally a fan of eating at restaurants. There will be days where I am tired and do not want to cook, but I'll usually change my mind and say I'd rather eat at home because I don't want to risk someone mixing up the order or getting sick from cross contamination. I realize I'm sounding a bit paranoid about now, but it usually takes me less than 20 minutes to figure out when there was something in my food that I shouldn't have eaten and I feel lousy for a couple days afterwards. When I do eat out, it's usually one of two local restaurants I've grown to trust.

Yesterday was my birthday and the nicer of the two restaurants we frequent changed their menu, and there wasn't much that was vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free. I was a little disappointed and started looking at different options. Bitt had suggested Sutra several months ago and I hadn't been brave enough to really look into it until that point. Sutra is a vegetarian (really labeled vegetarian although all of the items were clearly vegan) restaurant that uses fresh, local ingredients. The chef works with local farmers and foragers, building his menu around the ingredients that are freshest and most interesting. The menu is a set four course meal with suggested drink pairings. Lance said it reminded him of "Chopped" because they essentially are working with a "mystery basket" every week, but I'll go into that more later.

Lance called the restaurant and explained I had several allergies and asked if they could accommodate someone with a lot of food issues. The chef got on the phone with him to discuss my allergies and said they could change aspects of their menu to fit my needs. I was very impressed by the fact that the chef took the time to go over the menu with my husband and instantly felt more comfortable at dining at a restaurant with a "fixed" menu.

The restaurant is quite cozy. There weren't any tables for two really, so Lance and I opted to sit at the larger communal table at the end. There are two seated dinners at Sutra - one at 6:30 and one at 9. We went to the earlier seating, which was very full. We sat next to two nice women. The kitchen is open, so we were able to watch the chef prepare our meals. The chef came to the head of the restaurant and explained the menu and special ingredients. Foragers found hedgehog mushrooms, which are out of season right now, so we were in for a treat. Nettles were used in the risotto, and we learned that they have 10 times the calcium of other leafy greens and are very high in iron. Another oddity on the menu was the devil's club that was foraged and fried in rice flour and corn meal.

The first course was carried out. The lentil soup was very nicely seasoned with coriander and cumin. Cauliflower made the texture quite velvety. It had a little heat to it, and was quite lovely. The salad had baby greens, and some of which had a tinge of mustard flavor (likely arugula). The salad had candied walnuts, pickled fiddle heads, and shaved fennel. The dressing was lemon juice and a bit of truffle oil.

Second course was a risotto with thyme and nettles over a balsamic reduction, with a spicy carrot sauce on the side. Devil's club was fried in corn meal and rice flour, and they were quite considerate and made sure to leave the corn meal off mine and fry my batch before the others to avoid cross-contamination. I really appreciated that they understood what cross-contamination was and they took extra steps to avoid it! I have to say that it wasn't my favorite, but Lance enjoyed it so much he finished the half I chose not to eat. It ended up being a smart move on my part because there was a LOT of food!

Course three was a savory crepe made of mung beans and black rice. The crepe wrapped cashew cheese and asparagus, and was served over a bed of sauteed chard. Others had their crepe over a tomato sauce, but they served mine with a balsamic reduction and truffle oil. I know this is sacrilege to some, but I don't overly enjoy truffle oil. I thoroughly enjoyed the course, however. There were hedgehog mushrooms served on top, which were smoked. It was so delicious!!!

The last course is always my favorite. Desert! Dessert for most was a cherry rhubarb torte with caramel coconut ice cream and lava salt. For me, it was the wonderful torte filling prepared separately. The rhubarb was still crisp and a wonderful contrast to the soft cherries. It paired very well with the caramel coconut ice cream and the lava salt had a bit of charcoal, which went really well with the cherries. Divine.

The servers were knowledgeable and everyone was very diligent about allergy issues. I would recommend Sutra to people who have to be cautious about their allergies, as well as those just looking for a delicious meal.

Grade: Strong A


  1. That is so great! I'm really glad the chef & staff were so smart. That makes for a very happy birthday. I'm not aware of any place in CO that would be that safe (I can ask around if you want).
    I'm with you on the truffles.

  2. can't tell if my other comment went through. apologies if it did. I was having trouble posting last night.

    I am glad you had a better experience than I did, at least with the dessert! So happy they could accommodate you.

  3. I love Sutra, though the last time I was there I left still hungry. I think it will be my choice for my birthday this year!