Let's recap: After the closure of Le Bistro, formerly La Petite Maison, this past January, mother-daughter duo Marty and Lindsay Williamson moved five-year-old Faerie Tales Bakehouse and Catering into the charming, converted west-side house.
In early June, they expanded to offering lunch, dinner and Sunday brunches, a welcome move considering they have one of the best patios in town and the space's rich legacy (see "Reborn Bistro," Appetite, June 17, 2010). Since the late '70s, the spot has been a safe bet for a gourmet meal.
Good news: It still is.
The meticulous and thoughtful cake-decorators' hands and vision lead to colorful plates, sharply presented with basic garnishes like fruit and mint leaves. Savory and brunch menus offer 13 items each, while the dessert list comes in at 12 — displaying manageable focus for a largely two-person kitchen, but also an eye toward sweets as equally important to a well-rounded meal. (My kind of girls.)
The spacious sugar list may be intended to highlight daughter Lindsay's pastry prowess — a sort of advertising for the larger catering mission — but it's welcomed when the result is as good as the balsamic strawberries over homemade vanilla bean ice cream ($4). Or signature Colorado Miners Cookies (two with milk for $5, or $24 per dozen) made with dark, milk and white chocolate, toffee, candied walnuts, Craisins and flecks of gold leaf.
An order of the four-layer house mocha chocolate cake, an enormous slice grooved with ganache and vanilla buttercream, most exemplifies the menu's overall fair pricing, at only $6. You could file this as a dessert and coffee spot (they pour Colorado Coffee Merchants), but you'd miss some worthwhile entrées.
At brunch, the crab cake Eggs Benedict ($11) is spot-on, with a proper Hollandaise, fluffy poached eggs and generous, meaty cakes over a standard English muffin; berries and a thin banana bread wedge complement. A 3-ounce, somewhat Southwestern-spiced New York Strip with eggs ($12) is well-prepared, with a nice mound of pleasantly salty fingerling potatoes.
And though the thick, orange-infused French toast ($7) could benefit from more orange essence to deserve the name, its accompaniments are lovely: a house-made berry compote and cinnamon cream cheese in addition to butter and syrup.
From the savory menu, which appears at both lunch and dinner, the roasted beet salad ($7) wonderfully merges creamy warmed goat cheese with the root's earthy sweetness. It's a classic combo, but well-timed for the season. Bonus points for the sun-dried cherry and candied pecan garnish, as well as the peppery arugula accent.
Angel hair pasta with perfectly cooked jumbo shrimp ($11) is again no stretch of the imagination, but well-executed with roasted garlic, mushrooms, olives and tomatoes in a lemon beurre blanc. Flank steak "lollipops" ($10,) are fun as, essentially, miniature roulades stuffed with spinach, arugula, asiago cheese and prosciutto, though a bit more protein in the interior could add some flavor.
As for minor shortcomings, the servers could be more knowledgeable, relying on fewer trips to the kitchen with questions. But really, from the delightful blackberry lemonade to the delicious house puff pastry breadsticks, these culinary faeries are poised to tell quite a tale — gold flecks in tow.