For years, I have considered brunch at P17 (formerly Parallel 17) my own gem of a secret. While others languish in hour long lines in front of brunch places offering lesser fare, I would be seated comfortably, mimosa in hand, perusing the delights on the menu. The food is too good to keep to myself. I am letting the secret out. Brunch at P17 is amazing. Recently, chef/owner Mary Nguyen has taken the restaurant away from Vietnamese inspired dishes and décor and more towards a neighborhood bistro feel – which for the menu means French inspired offerings, elegant in their simplicity.
The chef made sure that we started our meal with a basket of gourgeres – warm, airy, cheesy pastries. They are savory perfection and I am instantly feeling the cozy bistro vibe. Next, we had the tomato tart. Warm tomato balanced with goat cheese and ricotta on a flaky, buttery dream of crust, I can’t imagine a meal that wouldn’t be improved by this appetizer.
Under normal circumstances, I would never review two variations of the same dish from the same restaurant. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention both incarnations of P17’s French toast. Though they couldn’t be more different, they are both equally delicious. The P17 French toast, served as an appetizer, is a cornflake crusted shell stuffed with blueberries, walnuts, and ricotta, drizzled with crème anglaise. It is decadent in all of the right ways and ideal for satisfying a sweet tooth. If you are feeling generous, this is ideal for sharing. The Classic French toast is something altogether different. Made with brioche (the richer, more pastry-like cousin of bread) and served with whipped cinnamon butter, maple syrup and bacon this is the platonic ideal of French toast. Pair it with a cup of coffee and you have the consummate breakfast.
I am usually a huge fan of the breakfast cocktails, but the mocktail menu at P17 is so good that I passed on all things alcoholic this time around. Bartender Charles Kollmann created the drink menu with care, and this is one of the few places in Denver where everyone, including your pregnant best-friend or your 10 year old nephew, can get a drink that makes the occasion feel special and celebratory. Try the basil, orange, lemon, lime, K Tizz Fizz, or my personal favorite, the lavender, mint and lime Flower Child.
The reincarnation ofP17 as a neighborhood bistro works. This spot has always been cool, hip, and romantic – the kind of place where you could impress a date with food and atmosphere. But now it is also accessible and comfortable in a way it wasn’t before. So come experience the new menu and prepare to be delighted.