James Mazzio's Supper Club will intrigue and entertain this weekend

Categories: Cafe Society

Thumbnail image for JamesMazziocookingschool.jpg
Lori Midson
James Mazzio inside Studio F, home of this weekend's Supper Club.
Amuse-bouches, those tiny morsels of goodness offered by a chef to kick-start a meal, can be made of nearly anything -- salmon tartare, cucumber gazpacho, asparagus mousse, etc. What they have in common is size (small) and design (creative). But what about an overstuffed sausage-and-cheese burrito or a messy smoked chicken sandwich?

While these offerings at Red Star Deli don't fit the norm, that's in some respects what they really are: goodwill offerings -- albeit gigantic ones -- from a talented chef. And this Friday and Saturday, you have a chance to taste the rest of the meal when James Mazzio, owner of Red Star Deli (the subject of this week's review) and Studio F, welcomes diners to join him for dinner, not just breakfast and lunch.

See also:
-The meat-centric Red Star Deli is a rising star
-Red Star Deli, pop-up dinners and a chef series all part of chef James Mazzio's vision for Mise en Place Cooking School
-Chef and Tell with James Mazzio

Throughout the year, Studio F, which now shares the former Mise-en-Place Cooking School space in the Icehouse with Red Star Deli, puts on sporadic pop-up dinners by visiting chefs, farm-to-cocktail dinners and corporate team-building sessions built around envelopes with mystery ingredients and entrees created on the fly.

But this weekend Mazzio (a Food & Wine Best New Chef winner in 1999) is turning Studio F into his own restaurant, inviting people into the exhibition kitchen to watch him prepare --and later, eat -- an haute cuisine multi-course meal. Guests choose from a small menu of dishes -- think lobster-studded Olathe sweet corn soup and beef tenderloin with locally-foraged mushrooms -- and pay accordingly, with prices in the low teens for apps and the upper twenties for entrees. Wine and beverages are also available.

For Mazzio, Supper Club (as he calls the two-night-only restaurant) allows him to stretch his culinary muscles. "I'm always trying to push myself to do new things I haven't done before," he says. Tomorrow, for example, that includes serving tapioca with an entrée (a first for him), specifically cold coconut tapioca with spicy Szechwan pepper greens as an accompaniment to wild-caught salmon.

"People's first reaction is going to be, 'This is totally weird,'" Mazzio laughs. "Then they'll eat it and say, 'I get what you're doing.'" Talk about entertaining to the mouth -- which is, after, all, the literal translation of amuse-bouche.

For more information, visit www.studioflodo.com.

Location Info

Red Star Deli - CLOSED

1801 Wynkoop St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Studio F - CLOSED

1801 Wynkoop St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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I don't really see how it functions as a viable business, but the meal I had at Studio F from Ian Klenmann was the most fun I've ever had at a restaurant. Having the kitchen completely open to the dining room, both physically and with the chefs coming out and talking to you about the food, is just a great idea. I can see how that would be incredibly hard to keep up full time (some nights you just can't be bothered), and that's probably why it works best on a short term pop up basis.

Denver Dave
Denver Dave topcommenter

I have always considered Chef Mazzio to be the premier chef on the Denver scene but he never stays anywhere for more than a few months or maybe a year (kind of like Sean Kelly - another star).  It's frustrating to try and follow him because he is here and gone before you can ever find him.  I expect that he won't last long at this new place either, not because of lack of talent,  but because Denver diners are particularly disinclined to having to search out new places that are upstairs and in a parking challenged part of Lodo.  Wishing him all the best though - some of the best meals I've ever eaten were from his kitchen.  Wish he'd find a great location and settle down - I'd be there every week.

Mantonat topcommenter

 @Denver Dave "Denver diners are particularly disinclined to having to search out new places that are upstairs and in a parking challenged part of Lodo. " You mean like that place across the street called Wynkoop that is above street level and is in a parking-challenged part of Lodo? I think it's about the same number of stairs up to both restaurants.


The more difficult aspect of Red Star is the complete lack of storefront, but it's a breakfast and lunch sandwich shop, not a sit-down dinner place, so establishing a small but loyal clientele might be all they need. And I love the whole Studio F concept, but it seems like a challenging way to make money.

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