Ryan Leinonen, exec chef/owner of Trillium, wants to stage at Le Bernardin

RyanL2.jpg
Lori Midson

Ryan Leinonen
Trillium
2134 Larimer Street
303-379-9759
www.trilliumdenver.com

This is part two of my interview with Ryan Leinonen, exec chef/owner of Trillium. Part one of that interview ran in this space yesterday.

Favorite restaurant in America: Gotham Bar and Grill in New York. I really like Alfred Portale's take on what a whimsical dinner menu should be. He's playful with his food, adding certain twists and turns, but he still stays true to the origin of the ingredients, whether in technique or in the inspiration. The menu has a nice selection of different cuisines -- French, Japanese, Italian and American influence all on a twenty-item menu. I also love his dramatic presentations. They sometimes border on circus-like, but they're still functional and approachable.

Favorite Denver/Boulder restaurant(s) other than your own: It depends on my mood. I like Fruition when I want some killer food and service, but I'll also be at the bar at Jax eating a gargantuan piece of Merus king crab with mustard sauce and a cold beer. I usually don't eat out too much, and if I have family in town, I prefer to cook at home.

What you'd like to see more of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: More exotic foodstuffs. Give me more than just good burritos, steakhouses and pho. I want to see some stuff I've never seen before -- stuff that Bourdain writes about.

What you'd like to see less of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: Steakhouses. I guess I don't like them because I grew up in Michigan, which is the country capital, in my mind, of meat and potatoes. Anyone can roast some potatoes and throw a charred steak on the same plate at home. Why go out and pay $40 for it? Get creative, get seasonal, and put some heart, love, soul and passion into your food.

Biggest compliment you've ever received: The best compliments are from guests who thank me for such a great meal and tell me they'll be back.

What are your favorite wines and/or beers? I'm pretty simple. When it comes to wines, I lean toward whites, especially Riesling. As far as beers, I like Hazed & Infused, and this awesome beer Dogfish makes called Sah'Tea, which is brewed as a modern version of a traditional ninth-century Finnish beer. I also love old Michigan favorites like Bell's Oberon, which, unfortunately, isn't available here in Colorado.

Favorite food from your childhood: Pasties from Mackinaw Island in Michigan. It's a baked pastry filled with ground beef or lamb and root vegetables like carrots, onions, turnips and rutabaga, and it's traditional fare for the Scandinavian transplants of the Midwest and the North Woods. The best pasties are made with lard in the pastry dough, like my grandma used to make. All you need is two or three pasties, along with some ketchup for dipping -- oh, and a glass of milk. Look for them in the future on the Trillium menu.


Location Info

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Trillium

2134 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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9 comments
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Sadude108
Sadude108

This place is disgusting i have never had a worse meal in denver. We went hear on friday everything we had was so bad NEVER EVER GO TO THIS PLACE

elle
elle

Those truffle tots were highly disappointing. :(

annoyed yooper
annoyed yooper

Pasties originated in Cornwall, not Scandinavia. Also, they were made with whatever cheap things poor families could spare, lamb pasties are highly unheard of...but a true pasty is made with hamburger, potatoes, and carrots/rutabaga.

oy.
oy.

Ryan is from Michigan and there are pasties in Michigan.  He never said they were a Scandinavian food staple.  I think it's nice that he chooses to cook some of the food that he spent growing up on as a child.

Trillium is an American Bistro with Scandinavian influence and homages to the Midwest-Ryan's roots. I think it's all going to be ok if he wants to make an upscale pasty.  There's all sorts of things that are ideas of how to feed people cheaply turned into something high class.

And Mackinac Island is with a 'c' and Mackinaw City is with a 'w' if you want to correct something worth correcting.

Diamond Dace
Diamond Dace

Dang, you beat me to it. Pasties come in many varieties in the UK, corned beef being HUGE in Wales but the chicken curry versions ( usually purchased at 2am at the 7-11 ) are tatsy as hell. I'll be there with bells on when they get on the menu. And you're right, cheap beef, taters, carrots, swede and turnip. Edge is crimped so the miners who ate them could keep part they ate away from their dirty hands, and the crust was usually thrown down a non-working part of the mine to keep the rats away from the miners.

Cook1
Cook1

A well spoken chef, always good to have that shown to the public sector, were not all just a bunch of uneducated kitchen monkeys, we have brains too!

It's Jenn again...
It's Jenn again...

I don't think there is anything he says in this story that I don't like. I agree--good ice cream should not have things mixed in it, or be topped with things. I also forgo the cone. Guy Fieri needs to have someone rip off his sparkly dragon Ed Hardy shirt and gag him with it. And German knives really are the best for my chubby little digits--I'm all about my Wusthof 6" classic.

Please do make pasties. Good ones are hard to come by in restaurants, and since I sleep late they are usually sold out by evening when I'm inclined to dine out. Make pasties for the late diners, and I'll be there.

It's Jenn again...
It's Jenn again...

And I just scoped out the menu for Trillium--truffled tater tots with Hollandaise sauce? Three of my favorite things in one dish? Hells-to-tha-yeya!

Joey B
Joey B

Death by Foie. Awesome.

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