A Little Dip Will Do Ya' at the Vesta Dipping Grill
Our August pick was Vesta Dipping Grill. Luckily, this outing took place during Denver Restaurant Week so we got to experience a great sampling of Vesta's menu and save money at the same time; however, there were a lot of menu items that we didn't get to try. I smell a return trip, people!
Vesta is located in downtown Denver between 18th and 19th on Blake. This may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your feelings about downtown. There is meter parking on the street and $5 parking is available after 4pm everyday at Guaranty Parking located at 1332 18th Street. Vesta will validate parking on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Like most of the restaurants in the downtown area, Vesta has an industrial look to the place. This means that during busy times, it can get pretty noisy. That being said, the decor was warm with rich wood and metal accents, an open inviting space, comfortable booths, and an outdoor sitting area for those who prefer to eat outside.
As we stated, we visited Vesta during Denver Restaurant Week. The menu consisted of three courses (appetizer, main entree, and dessert) with optional wine pairing for an additional charge. We were able to select one item from each area. They also had something called $3 Bites, which were one bite tastings of specific appetizers. We brought friends with us for this outing so we were able to try nearly everything the menu provided.
Our meal began with a shot of Cucumber Mint Gazpacho (a cold, pureed soup). It was a light and refreshing start to the evening. Sadly we did "shoot" our gazpacho and were sad when it was gone so fast. Our server, Tim provided us information about each of the selections and offered his suggestions based on our input.
The portion sizes were impressive to us. Normally when we take advantage of a deal like Denver Restaurant Week, the portion sizes are decidedly smaller. This was not the case at Vesta. Tim, our server, even said, "Restaurant Week is an excellent way to showcase what we [Vesta Dipping Grill] can do on a regular basis".
The cajun shrimp was fresh and well seasoned without being too spicy. It was served on a bed of cheesy grits which was creamy without being soupy.
The Summer Sausage was served with both a spicy dijon mustard and a sweet cherry mustard which although sweeter, still had a kick to it. The mustards stood in contrast to the creamy, savory sausage. Sweetness + Spicy + Savory = Pure Heaven.
The heirloom tomato salad contained several types of tomatoes (orange, roma, green, etc.) and came with toasted pine nuts, cheddar goat cheese, and a cava vinaigrette. Cava is a sparkling Spanish white wine and is typically mixed with white vinegar to make a vinaigrette dressing. This vinaigrette highlighted the sweetness of the tomatoes and paired wonderfully with the toasted pine nuts.
For our main course, our group ordered the Grilled Flatiron Steak, Carolina BBQ Pork Tenderloin, and Smoked Paprika Grilled California Yellowtail. There was a tofu dish, but it...was...tofu. So...anyhoo. All the dishes were amazing and each entrée was paired with three sauces. Although the dipping sauces are the main focus of the Vesta Dipping Grill, we recommend you try their dishes without the sauce as well. They are incredible and perfectly capable of standing on their own without the accompanying sauces. That being said, the sauces add to the flavor without overwhelming or taking away any of the richness of the dish itself.
The steak was served with truffle roasted summer squash and a warm bacon and potato salad that was simply amazing. The sauces served with the steak were a Basil Emulsion, Tarragon Mustard, and Berry Chutney.
The Carolina BBQ Pork was very tender and moist. The fennel apple slaw paired perfectly with the roasted corn risotto and helped bring out the sweetness of the pork. The three sauces that accompanied the tenderloin were Basil Emulsion, Black Pepper Aioli, and Berry Chutney. The Black Pepper Aioli was our favorite because the pepper played off the sweetness of the slaw for a taste explosion that made us very, very happy.
As two generally, non-fish folk we both found the California Yellowtail to be very good. It was flaky and well seasoned without an overwhelming fishy taste. Again, this dish was great on its own but equally incredible with any of the three sauces - Tarragon Mustard, Cucumber Tzatziki, or Dried Apricot Chutney.
Two of us at the table elected to try the wine pairing for an additional $15 per person. Exceptional and very much worth the extra cost.
The float was creamy with large Palisade peach wedges and a bourbon white chocolate ice cream from Ice Cream Alchemy, a Boulder, Colorado based ice cream company.
The Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches consisted of a chewy cookie, peanut butter ice cream, and both a fudge and a berry sauce.
The cheese plate (Colorado Camembert and Chevre) was probably our least favorite dessert. The Apple compote and the camembert were lovely but we found the chevre to be a little too dry to combine with the bread.
Our outstanding server, Tim brought us a sample of a Peanut Butter chocolate truffle that was topped with sea salt. He also brought an ice cream bon-bon for one of our party who had a peanut allergy. By the way, Tim really went out of his way by documenting the fact that one of us had a food allergy and insisted that if we didn't like anything, to let him know so he could find us something else to try.
The staff was FANTASTIC!! Everybody from the greeters to the wait staff were exceptional. The manager, Nick came by our table and even gave us his card in case we wanted to come by and share one of their famous mushroom salads. Pictured here is the manager Nick (Left) and our server Tim (Right) holding up the official 2 Chicks 1 Bucket Golden Spoon that we awarded them. Both of these gentlemen were professional and welcoming. More importantly, they were knowledgeable about the restaurant and the menu. We did throw Tim for a loop with a couple of our questions but he didn't hesitate to find the answer and strived to make our experience perfect. Truly the sign of a great server!
When visiting the Vesta Dipping Grill, be sure to request Tim. He was simply outstanding!
Thank you to the staff of the Vesta Dipping Grill for a wonderful evening.
September's drawing - Hunter's Grill in Erie, CO!
The Officially Unofficial Voting Legend
Take it with a grain of salt, we're not professionals.
Awesome place, we’ll shovel more food in our face!
It was okay. Not our favorite, but we’ll take another stab at it.
Didn’t make the cut.