I have to be honest. It took me a little while to warm up to the new Stoic & Genuine seafood restaurant at Union Station downtown. At first glance, it seemed a little too expensive and fancy for Denver. And who hasn’t made fun of this new hipster trend of naming restaurants “____ & ____”? There’s even a Hipster Business Name Generator where you can get your own (like Parsley & Sea, for example). Let’s be honest: 99% of the population probably can’t even tell you what “stoic” means.
But then I found myself repeatedly ending up at S&G on the weekends. They have this great little patio with a perfect view of all the hustle and bustle outside Union Station — and on a hot day, what sounds better than a cold bottle of white wine and some oysters under one of those umbrellas? So that’s how I found myself at Stoic & Genuine over and over, until I realized that I kind of love this place. The location is perfect, the seafood is fantastic, the wine is cold, and the people are pretty friendly and genuine (see what I did there?).
The down side is that it is a little expensive. If you split the whole fish (see below), you can save a lot on food, but their wines seem to have gone up in price (there used to be a couple of great options such as an Albariño for under $30, but now they seem to be $50+).
The Happy Hour
This is the best time to come here, although the happy hour is a bit strangely time if you work an 8-5 job. It runs from 2pm to 4:30pm on Monday through Friday. The good news is that it runs almost all day Sunday, from 11am to 4:30pm! Or when you work as a freelancer like me, who cares?
If you know me, you know I love me some oysters — and this place has them! You can choose from a variety of $2 oysters during happy hour (although they’re $1.50 at Jax, but you don’t get a choice of oysters there and they don’t open until 4pm). And the house wines, daily granita cocktails, and select beers are only $3!
The reason I first thought S&G was so expensive is because the appetizers are a little pricey — so if you decide to get an appetizer and an entree and drinks, you’re spending a pretty penny. For example, the Big Eye Tuna Tartare with smoked jalapeño, radish, tempura avocado, aioli — while delicious — costs about $16. I got it during Restaurant Week, but not I’m sure I’d get it otherwise.
Even some of the main dishes, like the crab cakes, aren’t very sizable — albeit very good. They’re packed with real crab and mixed with a good amount of spice and seasoning to add just enough flavor. I think they’re a great “main” if you’re not too hungry, but maybe not as good as the ones at Jax (sorry to compare the 2 again). And the heirloom tomato succotash on the summer 2017 menu? Where is the heirloom tomato…?
If you get anything here, get the Crispy Whole Haddock (with lemongrass butter, lime, ponzu, and fresno chiles). The Haddock is seriously where it’s at. At market price, it’s usually about $30, but it’s definitely a full meal for 2 people. It’s the house specialty, and it does not disappoint. As you can tell, we loved it. The poor thing didn’t stand a chance…
If you’re looking for an individual entree, the Squid Mac (with Point Judith RI squid, cream cheese hollandaise, grilled Maine lobster tail, and watercress) is pretty amazing, too. Although it’s almost the same price as the Haddock. This option is a lot creamier, but I wouldn’t say it’s sharable.
Another great option is the Steamed Clams (with Bilbao chorizo, tomato fondue, fennel, and ciabatta). I’m usually a bit hesitant about ordering mussels or clams with chorizo, because it tends to get too salty and greasy — but this one is done right. The chorizo comes as larger pieces of the spicy little sausage, and it doesn’t completely overpower the clams.
I’ve also come here for a special occasion, so I was prepared to splurge — and I got the whole lobster. Holy crap this thing was good. But definitely not cheap. #WorthIt
A special mention to the bread pudding:
I didn’t take a photo, because I almost never eat desserts. Sweets just aren’t my thing. So why bother taking a photo? I was wrong. Restaurant Week comes with a dessert, so we ordered the Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding (with hot buttered rum sauce and creme fraiche ice cream). And this thing is amazing. And that comes from someone who rarely says that about dessert.