James Beard Best Chef: Southwest Jennifer Jasinski, along with Crafted Concepts business partners Beth Gruitch, Jorel Pierce, Adam Branz, Matthew Brooks, and Jessica Richter opened Ultreia on December 8 in Denver’s historic Union Station based on the shared plate pinxtos (pronounced peen chos), petiscos, tapas and raciones of the Iberian peninsula countries of Spain and Portugal.
Ultreia (pronounced uhl trey uh) is the second Crafted Concepts restaurant in Union Station joining their successful seafood concept, Stoic & Genuine.
“We pay respect to the classics and put our own unexpected twists onto them,” says Jasinski, “but we are not Spanish.”
“Our trips to Spain and Portugal confirmed the passion for ingredients and techniques that we expected from the Iberian peninsula,” added Gruitch.
The word Ultreia has its roots in Latin, loosely translates to “onward” and refers to the words of encouragement shouted to pilgrims on their Camino de Santiago – a 1,000-year-old pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. It seemed a fitting name for a restaurant located in a transit hub.
Ultreia embraces the Beaux-Arts style of the building, but injects inspiration from the Iberian peninsula to create a rich and unique dining experience. Original plaster moldings and terrazzo floors are complemented by a new mural, based on a 17th century landscape painting by Aelbert Cuyp, which covers the walls and ceilings. A new dining mezzanine above the open kitchen allows patrons to climb the stairs and dine under the clouds. A custom built, 8’ diameter, chandelier floats below the sky.
The bar features a granite slab, and a six-tier back bar that displays a large selection of wines, gin, and sherries. Throughout the space, decorative wrought iron pieces inspired by the partner’s travels in Portugal add another layer of richness and detail.
Open for lunch and dinner daily, the Ultreia menu reflects traditional Portuguese and Spanish methods translated into the vision of chefs Jasinski and Branz and includes Ajo Blanco, an Andalusian almond garlic soup with grapes; Pan con Tomate, ciabatta, olive oil, garlic and tomatoes; Estofado de Pulpo, stew of octopus, pork rib, chorizo, beans; Asado de Cordero, roasted leg of lamb, north African spices; Piquillo Rellenos de Atun, peppers stuffed with tuna, egg, potato, aioli, parsley; Tortilla de Camerones, shrimp griddle cake, lime, aioli; and Pollo Piri Piri, very spicy roasted Petaluma Rocky Jr. chicken.
Gruitch and Richter’s beverage program features classic Spanish gin tonics (no ampersand in Spain), Spanish and Portuguese wines, and a broad selection of sherries.
Crafted Concepts owns and operates four award-winning Denver restaurants, Rioja, Stoic & Genuine, Euclid Hall and Bistro Vendôme. Ultreia is located in Denver Union
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