Restaurant Roundup: Ultreia

January 8, 2018  •  Restaurants

DATILES RELLENO, romesco stuffed dates, and BERENJENAS, eggplant, sesame, rosemary, membrillo –
these simple tapas on skewers were perhaps my favorite dishes of the entire evening!

When I got an email urging me to try Jennifer Jasinki’s new restaurant, I knew it was top on my list for 2018. Not just because she’s a James Beard Award-Winning chef and a culinary icon in Denver. It was the name and theme that grabbed me: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.
JAMON TRIO, Fermin Jamon Serrano aged two years, Mangalica aged 3 years,
Cinco Jotas Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, acorn fed, aged 4 years; PIMIENTOS PADRON, fried padron peppers, olive oil, salt;
and PAN CON TOMATE, ciabatta, garlic, tomato, olive oil – classic comfort food!
I spent two months in Madrid in 2016 after my husband’s collapse there, and will be returning to Spain in another year to walk a portion of the Camino, to honor him, to celebrate a milestone birthday with a friend, and to revisit Madrid and the kind people who took care of us while I was there. And then there was the Ultreia menu: “based on the shared plate pinxtos (pronounced peen chos) and tapas of the Iberian peninsula countries of Spain and Portugal.
COSTILLAS DE CERDO, Moorish spice-rubbed pork ribs, olive oil, Basque chilies
That was the reason my husband and I were in Madrid to begin with – to make a tour of the Iberian peninsula, driving from Madrid to Granada to Sevilla to Lisbon. That trip sadly never happened, but these were the comfort foods that sustained me during our crisis abroad, and I was excited to give the new spot a try.
SETAS, cedar plank mushrooms, black garlic espuma, dillBRASSICA CALIENTE, cauliflower, gailon, piquillo vinaigrette, pine nut purée, dried pomegranate
Ultreia is tucked inside Union Station on the opposite side of the main hall from Jasinki’s other spot, Stoic & Genuine. We were there very shortly after the restaurant opened and they were struggling with the ventilation system which I’m assuming they’ve gotten under control by now. Otherwise I loved the space: cozy, intimate, reminding me an awful lot of a few places in Madrid.
SELECCIÓN DE QUESOS, each served with toasted Marcona almonds, membrillo
I’d always rather end a meal with something savory, and cheeses paired with almonds and membrillo are about as perfect as it gets. I didn’t photograph the gin and tonic I had – it was just ok, and could have used a bit more gin – but the menu and variety is exceptional if you’re into Gin Tonics (what they are called in Spain) the way the Madrilenos are. If not, the cava selection, always my favorite, is nice, and even includes a Juvé y Camps that I’m rather fond of.

Open every day for lunch and dinner.
Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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