Downtown Denver Restaurants: Cook’s Fresh Market

cooks-fresh-market-downtown-denver-restaurants-may-2009Cook’s Fresh Market
1600 Glenarm Place, Suite 100
downtown Denver
Closed Sunday
Bus directions: take the mall shuttle from Market Street Station

I can’t count the times I’ve passed Cook’s Fresh Market while taking the mall shuttle through downtown Denver. And every time I said to myself, “I’ve got to check this place out.”

I finally did that Tuesday. I picked up some chicken green chili soup and Cajun remoulade and managed to resist all the luscious-looking desserts and homemade breads.

When I was there, at 2 in the afternoon, the tables facing the 16th Street Mall were still pretty full and people were standing in line at the deli. Nobody accosted me about taking pictures in the store, probably because the counters are so high that a 5’7″ person like myself can’t see over them. There was a sign stating the obvious and advising people to yodel. Seriously, though, it’s not a terribly user-friendly design.

In any case, I didn’t need to order any of the meat or fish, though the Famous French Hangar Steak sounded intriguing, as did the bacon-wrapped jumbo sea scallops. I moved on to the deli, where I noted sesame-roasted sweet potatoes and bleu cheese chicken salad.

Getting the point here? (The “bleu” gives it away.) A little beyond your basic deli, with prices to match. cooks-fresh-market-desserts-denver-may-2009There’s a list of all their products on the website, including such things as “summer meat bundles,” if you’re the kind of person who likes to get off work in downtown Denver and purchase 29 pounds of meat. And I did notice, Denveater, that they order most of their fish from Foley’s Fish of Boston.

But I had to laugh at this statement on the website about the opening of the downtown store, their second in the Denver Metro area: “Their heralded opening is as important to Denver as was the opening of Dean and DeLuca in New York’s SoHo years earlier.”

Hyperbole aside, the two items I bought were good. The carrots and potatoes and onions in the chicken green chili soup were firm, not mushy, and the small pieces of chicken were wonderfully soft. The soup was just spicy enough for semi-wimpy people like me. Both takeout containers appear to be reusable.cooks-fresh-market-lulu-grilling-sauce-denver-may-2009

I’m writing this while Todd is lying on the couch, trying to figure out what to do with the Cajun remoulade, since we have no shrimp or sliced asparagus. Myself, I thought it tasted fine with carrots and crackers.

Cook’s Fresh Market offers a large selection of dried fruit and a good-sized open cooler full of cheese, including Cotswold, German Butterkase, cave-aged Tallegio, Pecorino Romano, and Whiskey Cheddar. The salad bar was squeezed into a small space but looked well-stocked. The store’s produce section is small, but the website mentions their insistence that everything be as fresh as possible.cooks-fresh-market-desserts-denver-may-2009

Cook’s Fresh Market won’t fulfill Denver Infill‘s wish for a downtown Denver grocery store. It’s not quite as big or as well-stocked as Marczyk Fine Foods in Uptown Denver, but it’s a good place to stop for a sandwich or high-quality meats or cheese or desserts.