- Casey Bradley Gent
- Colorado lamb comes nearly fork-tender, with a delightful cranberry-marsala sauce.
Templeton’s, the new Old Colorado City spot (in the former 2South) owned by Dat’s Italian owners Dennis and JoAnn Trujillo, attempts to wrestle with two restaurant concepts that have been either canonized or calcified, depending on perspective. Upstairs, it’s a fairly traditional steak and seafood spot, while downstairs, they serve fondue.
But Templeton’s does their four-course fondue dinners a little different than most. Dennis hates boiling or frying meats, so he and former chef Andrew Barkas, formerly of N3 Taphouse, cribbed notes from Korean barbecue. While the cheese and chocolate courses arrive atop a double boiler setup, as one might expect, they serve entrées with a round cast-iron griddle, allowing guests to cook their meats and veggies dry. Each table holds an induction burner, so things heat up quickly enough, and there’s a temperature control for diners who feel confident enough to sear their entrées hotter and faster.
For fondue, Templeton’s charges per head, with prices ranging from $42 to $52. Each diner chooses their own salad and entrée, and the table splits a cheese course and a chocolate course, with dipping bites portioned by party size. We start with the Valhalla cheese course, a mixture of Swiss and havarti cheeses with kirsch, a German cherry brandy. It’s served with bread cubes and sliced raw fruits and veggies: apples, artichoke hearts, mushrooms and zucchini. My dining companion and I prefer cooked mushrooms to raw, but the slight booziness of the kirsch goes well with the cheeses, all the tastier on a piece of apple or bread.
We enjoy the house salad and Caesar both, though the CDC advisory means we get a mix of baby spinach, kale and arugula rather than menu-listed mixed greens or straight romaine — chef Terry Shampoe, formerly of The Antlers and Great Wolf Lodge, personally confirms that’s okay with us and makes sure we’ve enjoyed it after the fact, barely necessary with our server’s swift attentiveness, but appreciated all the same.
Location Details Templeton’s
Six side sauces all show well, but Dijon aioli and ponzu stand out as particular winners, good with basically everything. Rich bordelaise sauce would pair better with beef than our picks.
The chocolate course allows us to pair Ghirardelli chocolates and a Torani syrup, so we opt for dark chocolate and raspberry, adding Chambord for $3 more. It’s a classic flavor combo, and bits of pretzel and waffle hold it well, along with strawberries, bananas and marshmallows. We’ve spent $18 on a three-wine pairing for the cheese, entrée and dessert, not a bad price for essentially a glass and a half of wine, and while our server doesn’t show deep knowledge of the wines, they’re all fine palate cleansers. All told, the filling meal lasts nearly three hours, something well worth knowing before committing.
Then again, not everyone’s crazy on paying over $40 a head before tax and tip to do their own cooking. Said folks can enjoy Templeton’s upstairs offerings: the fairly traditional steak and seafood menu, with big protein portions and sides aplenty. Entrées start at $28 and breach $50, in the case of a 16-ounce bone-in porterhouse steak. Most sides run $8 and appetizers $12. As with downstairs, it’s easy for dinner for two to hit three digits.
Like downstairs, we get quick and attentive service throughout the meal, though I’m recognized as a reviewer by operating manager Maia Conkey, who’s hostessing that night. She informs us that Templeton’s gets all of their proteins from as close to Colorado as possible, with everything cut by Springs butcher shop The Prime Cut.
- Casey Bradley Gent
- French chefs put a staggering amount of butter into their dishes, like mussels a la Normande, and if there’s some higher power in this world, they will be rewarded richly and generously for their deeds.
Sides come plentiful, as hoped. Fingerling potatoes land perfectly tender, roasted in duck fat and tossed with herbs de Provence, though most of their seasoning winds up in the pool of fat at the bottom of the dish (nothing a little fork work won’t fix). Brussels sprouts arrive chopped and sautéed with plentiful commingled Parmesan, a delicious interplay of bitter and salty-savory, with subtle lemon zest and pine nuts for texture.
We hit a snag with our roasted half-rack of lamb: Two of the four chops we’re served come not at promised medium but deep into rare territory. Still, Conkey and the kitchen handle the snafu quickly and efficiently, serving us each an amuse-bouche taster of their lovely avocado tuna tartare as an apology for the wait on two perfect pink replacement chops, even offering to knock the $40 entrée off of our check for the trouble, which we decline. The lamb delights, nearly fork-tender and meaty, crusted in garlic and perfumed by rosemary as backing elements, served atop a chunky cranberry-marsala sauce with roasted asparagus. It’s protein aplenty for two, which makes the price point a little sweeter.
In Templeton’s, we see an interesting contrast of iconoclasm and tradition, but for our dollar, one stands out stronger than the other. Upstairs Templeton’s fits the spot’s cozy, intimate atmosphere better — even the soundtrack, rich piano covers of crooner standards and Disney tracks. Good things, done well, stay good, and that’s where we find Templeton’s happy place.