Chef Mark Ferguson, whose background includes longstanding executive-chef positions for Wolfgang Puck at Spago in Vail and Las Vegas, has opened his highly anticipated restaurant, Solitaire. Located at 3927 West 32nd Avenue in the iconic former Highland Garden, Solitaire boasts a new facade, a fully renovated interior that respects the history of the building, and a menu that will undoubtedly please its guests.
The beauty of the renovation, a job skillfully directed by Ferguson's business partner and wife Andrea Faulisi Ferguson, is its polish and the intimacy that the several dining areas create. There are nooks and crannies where dining rooms away scathered around the large space. Guests can choose to sit in one of them, on the beautiful patio among trees and flowers, or at the bar helmed by Ben Carrington, formerly of La Biblioteca.
With chefs Steve Maline and Chris Humphrey in the kitchen, Solitaire has the potential to be both a neighborhood spot and a destination. The neighborhood part of it keeps prices affordable with nothing over $22 on the food menu. The destination part brings dishes like the jasmine tea steamed halibut with golden Maui onion, Chester's barbecue, pineapple wedge, and lilikoi, for which one could easily imagine drive across town on a week night. Other highlights of the menu that could change daily are the sweet pea agnolotti with toasted morels and the cherry-smoked sturgeon with a new style galette, beet dice, and black caviar.
In the name of the restaurant is history. Ferguson's great-great-grandfather, Chester Stephen Morey, owned the Solitaire food company in Denver in the early 1900s. The new spot is open for dinner Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.