What's more, ever since that day, Michael has had a dream of opening a restaurant that served up this sort of pleasure. The name was conceived later that evening over drinks: "Big Fat Mike's Chicken Skins 'n' Such". And that about sums it up; "such", being, of course, any other food pleasure that makes you happy. Now, Michael has no business opening a restaurant, and he certainly never will, but if he did, he would do right to hire chef Scott Parker of Table 6 as his chef.
I ended up eating Scott Parker's brilliant food at Table 6 the other night through invitation by the lovely Sam Adams brewing company, who were promoting their Barrel Room Collection (which gladly will be released semi-exclusively in Denver any day now). But back to the chicken skin. Really, I don't know if Chef Parker would like to cook in my friend's fantasy restaurant, or if he would enjoy cooking whatever "such" turned out to be, but one dish he created that night indicates to me that he just might. The "such" in this case were sweetbreads. Sweetbreads wrapped in chicken skin and deep-fried. Served over a bed of pumpkin-rissoto. I think. I could have gotten that last part wrong, because Mr. Parker had me at, "sweetbreads wrapped in chicken skin", and after he spoke those words, I was immediately lost in a Homer-esque daydream sequence where little animal entrails were flying around over a deep-fryer with wings made of chicken skin.
It tasted as good as it sounds (that is, if it sounds good to you). If it doesn't sound good to you, or if the though of sweetbreads makes you a little queasy, or if you are someone that takes the skin off of chicken, let me say that there were a couple skeptical "foodies" (I use that term begrudgingly and skeptically--hence the " ") at my table who enjoyed it enough to clean their plates. And not only was this ingenious invention of chicken skin and such delicious on it's own, but it made the Sam Adams' Old Fezziwig beer, a standout by itslef, even better.
What it comes down to is that Scott Parker and his crew know how to cook--and have a fun, free, fresh approach to food. The rest of the menu that night was equally as good, and each of the five dishes paired extremely well with the corresponding beer. It was fun to experience the inspiration of a chef and his kitchen as I did with this five-course masterpiece. Two other highlights were a pork belly confit and a pastrami roasted rib eye. The pork belly was succulent and served in a white pear soup; the balance of sweet and savory perfect, and the dish as refreshing as it was succulent. The rib eye, was, as another table-mate put it, a dish, "that I will never forget." The meat was perfectly rare and the traditional horseradish mashed potatoes and onion jus were just right alongside the bold, yet familiar, pastrami crust.
The rest of the menu that night was just as impressive. And for our final course, we had a dessert that came straight off the regular menu (albeit with a little Imperial stout thrown in for good measure). A chocolate "frosty", like you used to get at Wendys--but slightly (a lot-- about 800x according to our server) better-- complete with delicious, crisp french fries, meant, of course, to dip in the shake before eating.
I have since been back to Table 6 with my wife, and among all the pleasure-filled plates we enjoyed that evening, I was especially taken with the chicken liver mousse. (If you remember, I got a little carried away with a chicken liver mousse in Toronto's La Cava). Now back in Denver and grounded firmly in that experience, I very casually ordered and ate the chicken liver mousse at Table 6, which is blended with hazelnuts and topped with a caramelized onion jam-type spread. The mousse by itself was a beautiful thing, and though now I won't go into dirty details of how good it was, let's just say that I would brush my teeth with this mousse, too. And the surprise signature touch that still has me smiling were little pieces of fried chicken skins alongside the toasted bread.
It's not just the liberal use of chicken skin that will keep me coming back to Table 6 again and again. Everything I had was well conceived, well executed and delicious. Another thing that impressed me was the service, quality and care that I had during the private media tasting menu (where you expect a restaraunt to be at it's best), was just as good when my wife and I strolled in at the end of service late on a Saturday night. There is a sense of comfort and welcoming that is soul warming. Owner Aaron Foreman and chef Scott Parker have created something special. The fact that these were my first times eating at Table 6 is more a testament to my lameness and ignorance rather than anything having to do with this fine eating establishment. Table 6 is a gem in a city full of great dining, and let's all hope Aaron and Scott stay here for a long time to come.
Visit Table 6 at 609 Corona St.