Boulder, CO: Sharing the bounty
In the Friuli region of Italy, a Frasca was a traditional, informal way for farmers and friends to share food and wine during the harvest season. It wasn't a restaurant exactly or a private home but somewhere in-between. You don't find them much in Friuli any more.
That spirit of sharing food and wine, however, is the inspiration for Frasca in Boulder, Colorado—a place that does just about everything right, managing to imbue its staff and patrons, too, with a feeling of well-being that's pretty darn remarkable. You may not have worked the harvest during the day but they'll see to it you reap the rewards just the same.
Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey owns the place with chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson; Mr Stuckey's wife, Danette, is the gracious hostess. If you haven't booked ahead, the small bar is the way to go for two people. Wherever you sit, you'll get a tajut (a small amount) of Tocai Friulano. Pair that with the salumi dish of cured meats, rafano (horseradish sauce) house-made breadsticks (wrap the meats around the breadsticks, smear with sauce) and you're off to a great start.
Whether you go for pasta, risotto, fish, Mr. Mackinnon-Patterson will see to it that you eat well here. And drink well, too. Mr. Stuckey's vast knowledge of wine is shared with enthusiasm and he's a a pro at using what you normally enjoy to guide you to a wine with similar characteristics, often from an unexpected grape or region.
How does Frasca manage to create such a special atmosphere night after night? For one thing, they treat their staff well, closing the restaurant each August to take the entire crew to Fruili. When you go for dinner, lovely people that they are, they'll bring Friuli back to you.