When we asked Denver restaurant critic William Porter to talk about one restaurant he missed the most, he raved about Kevin Taylor's Brasserie Z. Porter shared his experiences with the friendly staff that turned into lifelong relationships.
When I moved here in 1997, I rented a corner apartment in the Bank Lofts at the corner of 17th and Stout streets. One of the things I liked about it was that the building's ground floor was occupied by Brasserie Z, the place that chef-restaurateur Kevin Taylor opened after his original Zenith closed.
It was an excellent restaurant with a great bar, and you could actually access the side exit of the place through the Bank Lofts lobby. Kevin was putting out terrific food, including a beef carpaccio I still miss. Later on Sean Yontz helmed the kitchen. When I first started going there, the bar was manned by Jim Oswald and John Holmes, two great guys and serious Deadheads. Oz served me my first martini. (Weirdly, I had long been a dedicated Scotch guy and it wasn't until I was 40 that I had Bond's favorite drink.)
There was a nice crowd of regulars and it became sort of a surrogate family when I was single. I remember stopping in for a nightcap after the first date with the woman who is now my wife. Robert "Bird" Bredeck was by then the bartender and he asked me how it had gone. I gave him what must have been an odd look and said, "I know this sounds crazy after just one date, but I think this might be the one." He clapped me on the back and stood me to a glass of wine. And 2 1/2 years later, he was reading a passage from Pablo Neruda at our wedding.
It was just that kind of place.