With an altitude of 5,430 feet – slightly above a standard mile – you wouldn’t guess Boulder, Colorado would offer much in the way of seafood. Yet, the city is chock full of seafood options from down-home crab shacks to oyster joints and a plethora of other eateries serving up shrimp, lobster, crab and much more.
Need further proof? Here are just a few of the best seafood restaurants resting a mile above sea level:
1. Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar: Of all the restaurants in the city, Jax appears to understand the dynamic of serving seafood in a mountain town. What else would explain its company-wide tagline of “Bringing the coast to the coastless”? And it’s quite a rich and varied slice of coastline at that. The Jax menu includesa bevy of seafood dishes, namely crawfish gumbo, buckets of dungeness and king crab, bowfin caviar, hackelback roe, Australian sea bass, Sardinian pasta, Maine lobster rolls, grilled swordfish and a New England clam bake. Yet, Jax also brings so much more than tasty seafood to the table. The restaurant has a clear commitment to sustainability, working with fish providers to better inform clients and improve the availability of other wares.
2. Boulder Cork: Established in 1969, the Boulder Cork has built its business on two key pillars: A reliance on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and the 40-plus years worth of experience from head chef Jim Smailer. In fact, Smailer has worked with many of Boulder Cork’s current suppliers for as many as 20 years. This two-pronged approach has garnered the restaurant heaps of praise from local press, and rightly so. The Boulder Cork menu features prime rib, teriyaki sirloin, baby back ribs and lamb chops, yet it’s the seafood offerings that really seem to stand out. Specialties include a platter of mussels – shipped from Saltspring Island in British Columbia – smoked trout, sake-infused salmon, cod sandwich with wasabi mayo, lobster ravioli and the mahi-mahi bowl.
3. Spruce Farm & Fish: Like many other seafood restaurants in Boulder proper, Spruce Farm & Fish uses fresh specimens from fisheries across much of the U.S. However, Spruce has a dedication that goes beyond simply fresh ingredients, with chef and staff alike promising a menu that is both nostalgic and full of exciting innovations. On the one end, there are quite a few classic seafood dishes, like New England clam chowder, oysters on the half shell, fried oysters and crispy crab cakes. The Spruce menu also features slightly more unique offerings, namely the ahi tuna sashimi, Maine lobster pasta, salmon with lemongrass BBQ sauce and the signature fish & farm, a platter of braised pork belly and seared sea scallops with a rosemary citrus sauce.
4. The Greenbriar Inn: Since its opening in 1967, the Greenbriar Inn has become a kind of staple of the Boulder area. In the most basic sense, Greenbriar – which sits on 20 gorgeous acres at the foot of the Rocky Mountain – has played host to a cavalcade of private parties and weddings over the last 40-plus years. Of course, Greenbriar’s popularity also has to be attributed to its large menu of gourmet seafood. Standouts include fresh oysters, ciopinno – an Italian stew made with dungeness crab, shrimp, squid and clams – seared sea scallops with orange beurre monte (a melted butter sauce) and citrus caviar, and candied salmon. And since no meal is truly complete without dessert, don’t forget to try Spruce’s molten lava chocolate cake or white pumpkin cheesecake.