To have one of your menu items based on a recipe given to you by your mom suggests that the rest of the recipes are heartfelt as well. That’s the case at The Plimoth, a North City Park eatery where executive chef/owner, Peter Ryan employs his mom’s recipe for clam chowder that, among a wealth of tasty selections, wows patrons.
“No mystery there. It is the way that my mom used to make it,” said Ryan. “Simple, little neck clams, lots of fresh ingredients. We love to give people food prepared really from the heart.”
Born and raised in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Ryan moved to Colorado in the late 1990s, joining the faculty at Cook Street School of Culinary Arts. Eventually transitioning to being the chef at Z Cuisine in The Highlands neighborhood just west of downtown, the up-and-coming culinarian had an entreprenurial calling. “I went back to teaching at Cook Street, but soon found myself thinking about opening my own restaurant,” commented Ryan. “I really got the bug and I fell upon this space. A few hours after seeing the ad I was talking to the owner and within a couple months, I signed a lease without even having my guys on board.”
The guys he is referring to are executive chef, Charles MacDonald, and general manager and sommelier, Adam Knickerbocker. Ryan crossed paths with Knickerbocker in 2006 when his now-general manager was a student at Cook Street. MacDonald landed on the radar when he and Ryan were both at Z Cuisine. Once an ugly duckling, the boarded up storefront became a swan when the space that is now home to this trendy eatery was transformed into an airy and welcoming gathering place. It was made so by a team that included architects, engineers, electrians and of course Ryan, Knickerbocker and MacDonald. In a word the atmosphere is effervescent. The good vibrations are amplified by the enthusiasm expressed by happy patrons who are invited to select from an eclectic menu that changes daily.
“The menu is based on seasonality and what products we’re able to get fresh,” explained MacDonald. “We’ve all been trained classically as chefs with foundations in French and Italian cuisine. So it’s more about letting the fresh produce, meats and poultry determine what we prepare.” During the summer the chefs go to local farmers markets twice a week, plus the restaurant has a small garden on its patio where garlic, herbs and other veggies are grown. “I can go pick a tomato right off the plant that is still warm, sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on it, and hand it to our customers, that’s how fresh it gets,” added Ryan.
Each of the three principals have a significant understanding of wine, beer and spirits, which they are eager to share with guests, who are also welcome to step up to the display kitchen to watch the chefs work their magic and, if inclined, ask questions.
Patrons, who can convene around tables, at the bar, at a 10-seat counter overlooking 28th Street or (weather permitting) the patio, are in for a treat comprised of what the menu states as Starters, Bigger Starters and Mains. Look for Ryan’s “mom inspired” clam chowder, country-style pork rillette and a few salad options in Starters; chicken liver pâté on sliced baguette and baccalà puttanesca in Bigger Starters and Braised boeuf ‘a la bordelaise’ and cape cod pollock as Mains.
Extremely popular since it opened in November 2013, The Plimoth continues to draw a crowd.
“Everyone just got behind us; family, friends, wives,” said Ryan. “We went for it and so far it’s working out.” Stop in, pull up a chair and find out why.
When You Go:
2335 E. 28th Ave., (28th and Josephine Street)
Menu changes daily, dinner only
Tue.-Thur.: 4:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Fri.-Sat: 4:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
• Features street parking and outdoor patio
• Reservations suggested, book on www.OpenTable.com
Potato Leek Soup
2 tablespoons butter
4 medium leeks (whites section only), sliced and washed thoroughly
2 medium potatoes (russet are best), peeled and thinly sliced
3-4 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
½ cup heavy cream
Salt and white pepper to taste
In a heavy bottomed soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté until tender but not browned, about 15 minutes. Add the potatoes and then the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are completely soft, about 30 minutes. Add the cream and then season with salt and pepper. Place in a blender and puree in batches quickly, just to smooth (be careful not to not blend for too long or the soup will seem “gluey”). Pass the purée through a fine strainer for a smoother texture. Serve in warm bowls garnished with any of the following: crème fraiche, crostini, caviar, chopped chives, parsley. Serve this soup chilled in the summer months and you have vichyssoise!
Chocolate and Blood Orange Pot de Crème
14 fluid ounces of heavy whipping cream
2 ounces sugar
10 ounces dark chocolate (64%)
5 egg yolks
Zest of 2 blood oranges
2 tablespoons brandy
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Heat the cream and sugar until bubbles form around the edges. Pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk smooth. Pour the cream/chocolate mixture over the egg yolks and whisk smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Add the orange zest and brandy and whisk once more. Let the mixture ripen (rest) overnight in the refrigerator. Before baking, allow the mixture to come to room temperature. Bake at 300 F in a water bath until the tops are set, usually 30-40 minutes. The tops should “wiggle” but not “jiggle.” Tip: you may use a semi sweet chocolate or a combination of any chocolates. Have fun with the choice of alcohol: orange liqueurs work well, rum is excellent, even a Marsala wine would work well.
BIO: Kim McHugh, a Lowell Thomas award-winning writer, is a “foodie” of sorts whose wife is a fantastic cook. His stories have appeared in Tastes of Italia, RockyMountainGolf.com, Hemispheres, SKI, Luxury Golf & Travel and Colorado AvidGolfer.
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