Dining Out at Au Feu Brasserie
A French-Montreal-inspired restaurant in the heart of Washington Park
Au Feu Brasserie is one of the latest arrivals to the Denver restaurant scene, and it is definitely worth a visit! This French-Montreal-inspired restaurant offers a unique dining experience that you won’t find anywhere else in Denver. The food is amazing, and the atmosphere is perfect for a romantic night out or just a cozy place to gather with friends.
Au Feu Brasserie is located in the heart of Washington Park, and its location ensures that it will be a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. Au Feu also has some of the best neighbors in town, with Carmines on Penn and Uncle Ramen providing a diverse culinary landscape just steps from each other. Beware this area only offers street parking, and on a busy friday or saturday night it might be best to Uber or carpool to save time circling the neighborhood looking for parking.
Au Feu Brasserie will make any night of the week feel like a special occasion.
As soon as you walk in, the chic Parisian vibe takes over. You’re surrounded by velvet banquettes, low tables and bold wallpaper while shiny brass chandeliers hang above your head with art deco touches that extend into some of their serving utensils and ceramic peacock cocktail vessels for an extra bit o’ flair. My wife, who is an interior designer, was truly fascinated by the wall fixtures, leather chesterfield chairs with marble side tables. She couldn’t stop staring at the bold drapery and the brass and glass bar and bar cart that sits in the corner, filled with french aperitifs and other elegant European spirits. Au Feu Brasserie will make any night of the week feel like a special occasion. The restaurant’s atmosphere is both sophisticated and relaxing—the perfect place to break out that smoking jacket and show off those long pearls.
The beautiful city of Montreal has always been a favorite destination for me to escape from my New England roots and explore French Canadian culture. When I found Au Feu while scrolling through social media, I immediately made reservations and began looking at the menu like a child looking through a toy catalog, circling items I had to try. I was in awe that Denver, Colorado, could offer flavors similar to what you would find back home, and it became even more tempting to visit.
For all you folks out there unaware of what to expect from a Montreal-inspired restaurant, here’s a quick synopsi: Montreal’s culinary culture reflects the city’s diverse port history, ripping its inspiration from European ancestors to local Québécois palettes. The result is an unapologetic flair of smoked fish and meats, wood-fired baked breads and bagels, and unique textured cheeses that will leave you wanting more.
As I sat down at our low table, my hands began caressing the soft velvet couch when the manager Ty greeted me with excitement. He quickly asked about what brought us here today. I spent almost 30 years waiting tables, bartending and I’m not shy of conversation. I began to share my history with Montreal cuisine and hoped he could begin my culinary journey down Au Feu Brasserie menu. Ty suggested that I allow the chef, bartender, and him to make tonight’s selections and let him know when we are fini (finished).
Cocktail, Wines and Beers
Au Feu brasserie also offers a unique selection of cocktails like the Moulin Rouge, made with tequila, scotch, aperol, strawberry, lime juice, bitters and a sparkling wine topper, all served in a large peacock glass and garnished with fire. This cocktail should be in DiningOut’s next cocktail competition. Not only was its presentation to be adored but also how well balanced the flavors were, with no liquor trying to outdo the other. My wife, who rarely drinks alcohol, couldn’t resist taking a sip and wanting more.
If you’re in the mood for something more classical and simplistic, then I suggest The Smoked French Old Fashion. This cocktail is just what you need for a night of sophisticated drinking. The smokey glass cloche ensures that each sip has been enhanced by its delicate touch, while still maintaining the traditional flavor profiles associated with this style—oak and peat notes paired tightly together underlined perfectly by smokiness. Au Feu also serves my favorite Quebec beers La Fin Du Monde (in English, “The End of The World”)—a floral 9% ABV beer that is perfect on its own but even better paired with smoked sausages, cheese plates, and seafood. The wine list is full of what you expect from this sort of establishment, with plenty of French wines to choose from for almost every budget.
The staff at Au Feu Brasserie was making all the right decisions for me, and they were very eager for me to taste some of their favorite small plates. One dish I didn’t think about trying was the Charcuterie Board. This not-so-small dish is perfect when dining out with friends. The spread included chicken rillettes, a meat cooked in its own fa; foie gras mousse; saucisson, French for salami; wagyu bresaola, a highly marbled whole-muscle cured meat; sweet caramelized onions; spicy dijon mustard; and cornichons a flavorful crisp pickles, all served with perfectly grilled sourdough bread.This was the perfect start to this evening. The dish offers almost endless combinations you can fit on one piece of bread. It pairs perfectly with a glass of white wine or the Smoked French Old Fashion.
The one dish everyone needs to try at least once in their life is Poutine. It’s a Québécois specialty that uses fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy all together on top of each other which makes for an amazing flavor experience you won’t be able to stop eating once it hits your tongue. This dish can be enhanced by adding a few thick cuts of wagyu pastrami that on their own are perfectly juicy and tender but are even better paired with the fries, cheese, and gravy.
The oysters, also a popular menu item, are from Chesapeake Bay. The delicious Au Fue Grilled Oysters features six large oysters with butter, parmesan, fresh garlic, sprinkled with bread crumbs, and parsley and served with a grilled lemon.
At this point of my dining experience my wife and I were slowly sinking into the plush furniture and were preparing to throw in the towel, but Ty and the chef had two more dishes coming our way. When it comes to the entrées at Au Feu, every dish could be shared, and this first entrée we received is no exception. The Croque MonSieur is a classic French sandwich consisting of gruyère cheese, ham, and buttered challah. This dish was my wife’s favorite because it was served with a sweet jam on the side. Cut into four pieces you could share it for sure and save room for the dessert menu.
The last dish of the evening is something I’ve had many times in different variations, and it’s a classic french dish that is regularly served on cold winter nights. Chicken Cassoulet is a super-rich dish of slow-cooked cannellini beans, juicy andouille sausage, and salt pork lardons (which are kinda like pork belly), all topped with fall-off-the-bone chicken confit. This dish is perfect to have when nursing a hangover or trying to prevent one.
Au Feu has a dessert menu that is constantly changing, but a few dishes that should be always on the menu at any French restaurant are the Crème Brûlée and the Bread Pudding. Both of these dishes were perfect on their own, light and not too overly sweet. If you want to pair it with a cocktail, try the Espresso Martini. This frothy pick-me-up cocktail pairs perfectly with both our desserts, adding depth to the flavorful sweets.
We were so full that we couldn’t even finish our meal. All the dishes we had were comforting and worth giving a try. The waitstaff is impeccable yet discreet and of course knowledgeable. The atmosphere at Au Feu Brasserie is next to perfect with a warm scent of white oak coming from a wood fire grill enhancing your senses even more. Getting one of the smaller tables will give you a more traditional dining experience, or try one of the couch settings if you’re entertaining guests. Either way Au Feu Brasserie should be on your list of places to dine out next.