Friday, September 9, 2011


Opus is proof that fine dining can exist in the suburbs. We've been interested in making the trek to old town Littleton for a night at Opus, so when my husband saw a Groupon deal for half off the chef's tasting menu for two, we knew the time had come.

Our reservations were at 6:15 pm on Friday of Labor Day weekend. Taking advantage of free valet parking, we found ourselves entering Opus through a back entrance and meandering toward the front to locate the hostess.

The interior at Opus is one very large, expansive room, with widely spaced tables and concrete floors. It was about two-thirds occupied on the Friday night of our visit. The restaurant faces Littleton's historic Main Street, which is a lively area full of bars and restaurants.

The Chef's tasting menu included five courses and normally cost $75 per person, but thanks to our Groupon was only $75 for both of us. My husband opted for the wine pairings, which cost an extra $25.

After starting with an amuse bouche and a variety of fresh breads, we received our first course, Asparagus Flan:

Asparagus Flan
The flan dish was served with tempura asparagus and a balsamic drizzle. I loved the crisp tempura asparagus. The flan was ok; I generally don't enjoy flan and I thought the flavor was flat. Overall the portion felt a little large for a first course.

Our second course was Summer Melon Salad:

Summer Melon Salad

This was a lovely, light dish containing three large watermelon spheres accompanied by cantaloupe slivers, very thin slices of Spanish sheep's milk cheese, and shaved fennel. It was a perfect follow up - and a more appropriate portion size - after the more decadent fried asparagus of our last plate. 

Our third course was Butter Poached Salmon:
Butter Poached Salmon

The salmon sat on a bed of ratatouille risotto. The salmon was perfectly cooked and had a lovely soft texture. The risotto, however, was the star of the show. It was creamy, pleasantly salty and filled with a colorful array of fresh vegetables.

Next was Sous Vide Redbird Chicken:

Sous Vide Redbird Chicken

I don't believe I've ever had anything cooked "Sous Vide" before, and this was just as tender and juicy as I imagined it would be. Each cylindrical piece of chicken was comprised of a curious blend of white and dark meats surrounded by a skin wrapper. It came with tomatoes and cheese-filled raviolis that were also excellent.

One gripe: I was disappointed that the two proteins on the tasting menu were chicken and salmon. How boring (and cheap?). I would have much preferred more exciting meat and seafood selections.

The dessert planned for the five course menu was a creme brulee, which I was wary of as I usually dislike the eggy taste of many creme brulees. I was able to change my dessert to the Chocolate Duet in its place. My husband, however, stuck with the creme brulee.

First, my Chocolate Duet:

Chocolate Duet

The chocolate duet contained a flourless chocolate cake covered in toffee pieces, with a chocolate cylinder filled with a whipped mousse. The plate was decorated with a syrup swirl. I loved the different textures and levels of chocolate, but it was just a bit too sweet for me, especially with the syrup garnish.

And the creme brulee:

Creme Brulee

The brulee came with a mint oil and berry swirl, fresh strawberries, and a sugared basil leaf. It had a runnier texture than a standard creme brulee (which was fine), and I was very impressed with how well it was cooked in such a boxy shape. And it tasted fantastic. Creamy and rich, with none of the eggy taste that I feared. The berries and basil leaf complimented the vanilla flavor perfectly. My husband declared this to be one of his favorite desserts ever.

And I had to sit there and stare at the dreaded smug look on my husband's face, as he relished the fact that his dessert was better than mine.

Due to my overwhelming ignorance of all things wine-related, I can't comment on the wine pairings other than to say the waiter did an outstanding job of describing each one and my husband enjoyed them.

The service at Opus was outstanding, and the timing and flow of the different courses was perfect. Overall execution of dishes was very good, and I appreciated some of the inventive twists that were thrown in. We preferred the overall experience at Opus over our previous fine dining dinners at Kevin Taylor and Mizuna. We'd return in a heartbeat with another Groupon or other deal; otherwise it's just for special occasions.

Fine Dining

(8 of 10)

Pros: Excellent, unique food. Outstanding service.
Cons: Expensive (look for online deals), boring proteins in tasting menu


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