denv.her. was invited to dine at American Elm and we were excited to check out this new restaurant in the Highlands!
American Elm has a relaxed & warm neighborhood bistro feel that makes you want to stay a while. A beautiful American Elm tree branches up over American Elm's earthy patio and provides huge amounts of shade - making this a prime spot to enjoy a meal on a hot day. Since the elm blight hit Denver, elms this size in Colorado are few and far between which makes this space that much more special! Exposed industrial light bulbs dance on the interior and exterior of the restaurant adding to the space’s eclectic & country-like ambiance.
We were able to meet American Elm owner Bob Reiter and head chef Brent Turnipseede who led us through our American Elm dining experience. Both Bob and Brent exuded passion for each elevated food dish they brought to the table - you can tell that American Elm is their baby and they are dedicated to the customers' experience at their restaurant!
We began our meal with some cocktails - the Basil Gimlet and the Saturn.
The Basil Gimlet is made with gin, basil, and lime. This cocktail was refreshing, herbal and easy to drink.
The Saturn is made with gin, passionfruit, almond orgeat, lemon and falernum.
The Saturn was too much fun! This cocktail tasted like candy (but was not overwhelmingly sweet) & we loved the presentation in the brilliantly blue koi fish glass! We definitely will order this cocktail again.
For starters, we got down on the raw bar - a PLETHORA of oysters please! - as well as the Crispy Pork Belly and the Colorado Striped Bass Crudo.
The Oysters are served with mignonette, cocktail sauce, salsa verde, & lemon.
Cristine and I are BIG oyster gals - & we honestly have to say - American Elm has some of the best (if not THE best) oysters we have had in Colorado thus far. We had no idea American Elm’s oysters would blow us away like this and we inhaled the entire dozen.
American Elm flies their oysters in Daily from Seattle Seafood Co. - fresh AF. Each oyster was smooth, firm, sweet & full in the shell. The salsa verde was also a nice change to typical accoutrements served with oysters - the salsa gave the oysters a nice subtle tomatillo zest when chosen as a garnish.
10/10, get the oysters when dining at American Elm.
The Crispy Pork Belly is served with grilled peaches, charred salsa verde, pickled red onion, and radish.
This is arguably American Elm's most popular appetizer and we can see why. The crackle of the skin of this perfectly crisp Pork Belly was divine and the interior of the pork was tender AF. & we loved the use of Colorado peaches on this dish! Great flavor combo of sweet and savory.
The Colorado Striped Bass Crudo is served with watermelon aguachile, cucumber, serrano, and corn nuts. Just look at those colors!
Aguachile means "chile water" in Spanish. American Elm’s aguachile was made with watermelon which is a twist on aguachile that we had never seen before. The slices of Bass were flavorful and the spice of the serrano & sweetness of the watermelon made for a fun combination all together. Chef Brent's creativity really shined in this dish & the presentation was stunning.
Bob then brought us out one of American Elm's salads - the Watermelon & Arugula. The Watermelon & Arugula is made with compressed melon, sweet corn, fruition farms feta, local basil, roasted walnut, and rose vinaigrette.
This is a great light summer salad and we loved the texture of the little globes of watermelon found throughout.
We then had our second round of cocktails - the Ti' Punch and the the Pina Colado.
The Ti' Punch is made with Martinique rhum, lime and sirop de canne.
The Ti' Punch was my favorite cocktail out of the bunch and was SO refreshing. The sirop de canne added some great flavor and smoothed the rhum notes out making this a great punch that was SUPER pleasing to drink - I could have had 5 more of these easy.
American Elm's take on a Pina Colado is made with a blend of light rums, pineapple, and coconut.
We enjoyed all the tropical flavor notes of this cocktail and you could really smell the pineapple while you drank.
For mains, we had the Steak Frites and the Seared Scallops.
The Steak Frites are made with a 7oz ribeye cap, bone marrow butter, arugula salad, and fresh fries.
The bone marrow butter on top of the ribeye was #to #die readers - not only were we making sure each bite of ribeye had a generous helping of the butter - we also were dipping our fries in it lol. The butter had a perfect sweet and nutty flavor with a delicate texture.
Bone Marrow butter fans raise your hands - all in flavor?
The Seared Scallops are made with butter bean succotash, cornbread gremolata, and smoked tomato beurre blanc.
YUMMO you guys. #yumm #o
Not only were the scallops seared impeccably (sweet, buttery, delicate & firm) the bed of butter bean succotash, cornbread gremolata, and smoked tomato beurre blanc that the scallops came on was an explosion of AMAZING flavor that we were not expecting.
Chef Brent has seamlessly turned scallops into a comfort food dish unlike anything we’ve tasted before.
The scallops are a must try when dining at American Elm!
For dessert, we had the Creme Brulee.
This Creme Brulee had a thick caramelized sugar top, a thick vanilla custard body & was topped with tart fresh blackberries #puredelicacy. Do not, I repeat - do not - leave American Elm without having the Creme Brulee for dessert. So freaking good.
Huge thanks to American Elm for having us in!
Bob & Brent - you all have a V special restaurant on your hands and we can't wait to return soon. Cheers!
Address: 4132 W 38th Ave West Highland, Denver, CO 80212
Hours: Mon - Thurs from 4 - 10p, Fri & Sat from 4 - 11p, Sun from 4 - 9p
Happy Hour: M - F from 4 - 6p
Phone: (720) 749-3186