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Fish N Beer Opening Monday

A new restaurant from Kevin Morrison opening in RiNo

When it comes to naming a restaurant, Kevin Morrison is not a man prone to hyperbole. After selling his first business The Spicy Pickle, he opened Tacos, Tequila, Whiskey (aka Pinche Tacos) five years ago, followed last year by Poco Torteria. In each case, the name tells you exactly what you’re gettingwell, almost. Morrison and partner Aniedra Nichols, will open his newest venture Fish N Beer {3510 Larimer Street, Denver; 303.248.3497} on November 7 at 4pm. Here’s the skinny on what to expectfish, beer, and beyond.

Fish n Beer - Kevin and Aniedra

The team

Morrison has amassed a top-notch team to run his RiNo oysterette. He partnered with one of Denver’s most badass chefs, Aniedra Nichols who has spent the past nine years at Elway’s Cherry Creek with the last two as the Executive Chef. She comes with significant front and back of house experience that began with nine years at Andres Suisse Confiserie, followed by stints at The Fourth Story, Mels, and Bistro Vendôme. She will lead the talented group of line cooks in the kitchen. General Manager, Davin Teta and bar manager, Katie Kirwin are tasked with front of house operations and developing a small but powerful rotating beverage program.

Fish n Beer - Oven

The space

As is his style, Morrison has created a modern intimate space with warm rustic accents and a low-key inviting style. The open kitchen is centered on the wood burning grill with pulleys attached to what look like steam valves to lower and raise the grill grates as necessary. The dining area seats 50 and features bright white tables and benches, black and white subway tiles, and small nautical references that are scattered throughout the space. The back patio will open next spring with picnic tables that seat 35 guests, a mural painted on the outdoor walk-in, and a living wall to grow herbs and lettuces that will be used on the menu. A plan is also in the works to create an outdoor oyster bar inside a storage container on the back patio.

Fish and Beer - Oysters

Oysters any way you want ’em

They call the restaurant an “oysterette,” with a menu of eight rotating fresh-shucked oysters. Among the current selections are Penn Cove Kumamoto and Vancouver Island’s Fanny Boy from the west coast and Rhode Island’s Quonset Point and Long Island’s Blue Point. Grilled oysters arrive bathed in either a compound butter of garlic, parsley, and Parmesan or a devil butter of grilled tomato and chile de Arbol. If you prefer your oysters fried, the buffalo fried oysters will satisfy your craving—slathered in buffalo sauce, breaded, deep-fried, and served with horseradish crème fraîche.

Fish n Beer - Blowfish

From the sea

For those that remember chef Justin Brunson’s amazing seafood charcuterie at the short-lived Wild Catch, you will rejoice in Nichol’s ever-changing seasonal seafood charcuterie board. Her current version includes a sweet and salty soy-glazed salmon collar, house smoked fish dip, a classic tonnato sauce, housemade apple mostarda, giardiniera, and thick slabs of Grateful Bread Ciabatta.

Fish n Beer - Whole Colorado Bass

A whole grilled Alamosa bass, slathered in devil butter is a show stopper. The Arctic Char from Akureyri, Iceland is simply grilled and served with salsa verde, while the Stone Bass from Astakos, Greece comes with a pistachio-honey pesto. Other seafood-centric creations include Quinoa Crab Cakes, Smoked Bay Scallops, Grilled Prawn and Spanish Octopus, Lobster-Crab “Louie” Roll, and Fried Smelt with a dill tartar sauce.

Fish and Beer - Beet Tartare

Not from the Sea

Carnivores and veggie-lovers have not been ignored—Nichols has put all her Elway’s experience to use on this menu. The New York Strip Steak is rubbed in Novo Coffee, grilled to order, and served with a cipollini onion jus. You won’t miss the meat in Nichols’ vegetarian versions of classic meat dishes. The Mushroom Steak Sandwich is served on toasted ciabatta, topped with mashed potatoes, a grilled Portabello mushroom with melted Swiss Cheese, and smothered in a crimini mushroom grave with coleslaw and French fries. The Roasted Beet Tartare comes blanketed in a soft smoked burrata with carrot top pesto, house pickled onion, and grilled bread. Other vegetarian offerings include Vegetarian Paella, Rotisserie Cauliflower, and Parmesan-Roasted Acorn Squash with grilled mushroom pesto.

Fish n Beer - Tap Handles

To wash it all down

The beverage program is small, but it hits all the notes perfectly. Not surprisingly, there is a focus on beer with 16 taps that will rotate seasonally. The signature beer is Ratio Beerworks FNB French Saison, which was designed specifically to pair with seafood, and will always have its own handle. The other seven Colorado and eight national and international taps will change. Beer is a focus of four of the eight cocktails that will change as the beers change. The Rum Gose Sour is a combination of dark and light rum, cherry heering, and Ratio Beerworks Lime Gose sour. There is also a selection of four throwbacks like the Fig Martinesque with fig gin, curacao, sherry, and orange bitters. The wine list offers eleven wines by the glass and far from run-of-the-mill—you will find an Albarino from Rias Baixas, a Loire Valley Muscadet, a Grenache from the Rhone Valley, and even a Pinot Grigio from Slovenia.

By Elizabeth Woessner