Dining Out at RiNo’s Major Tom

Major Tom elevates farm-to-table dining with cosmic charm.

Savory Babka, Panisse, and Overnight Cabbage.
Savory Babka, Panisse, and Overnight Cabbage. Photo by Connor Stehr.

My early Friday dinner felt like a celebration as soon as I sat down at Major Tom. The staff had just opened a jeroboam (three-liter bottle) of Larmandier-Bernier Champagne, and a glass was quickly at my table alongside plump East Coast oysters circling a light pink mignonette.

Chef Duncan Holmes directs Major Tom’s menu with a similar farm-first, hyper-seasonal mentality as his nextdoor Michelin-star restaurant Beckon. Guests enter via a pathway to the back of the building into a small indoor seating area and a beautiful outdoor patio that feels secluded without losing its place in the heart of RiNo. Major Tom’s pared-back menu is split into two sections: savory sharable dishes and sweets.

Panisses (chickpea flour fritters popular in the south of France) are elevated from the traditional salt and pepper seasoning with aioli, local alliums, and a generous mound of grated parmesan and truffle on top. Bright golden beets are sweet and earthy, topped with feta and punched up with herbs, a touch of maple vinegar acidity, and mustard seed. Babka makes its way to the savory side of the menu from the typical sweet preparation, with herbs and soft cultured butter taking the place of chocolate and baking spices. One star of the larger dishes is the overnight cabbage that’s marinated in miso before being blackened like a protein and served atop gluten-free bread. The outside has a pleasant, light crunch while the inside is dense yet soft.

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Not to be forgotten is the tartare. The preparation changes regularly, though Major Tom’s commitment to high-quality ingredients makes it easy to trust that whatever meat gets the spotlight will be not only beautifully presented but taste as good as it looks. On my visit, thin cuts of wagyu came heavily dressed with pea shoots and orange flower petals, each bite perfectly balanced with a hint of fresh acidity and a crunch from the accompanying sturdy chips. Finish on a light note for dessert with the cream puff, which is impossibly delicate and filled with airy vanilla creme diplomat.

Where the food menu focuses on a handful of perfected dishes, the drinks menu goes long. The Champagne section alone warrants a visit, with a list filled with grower Champagnes and highly sought-after bottles of the type you would more expect to see at a dedicated Champagne bar than a farm-to-table restaurant. The number of non-sparkling options nearly matches the bubbly, and there’s a small selection of specialty cocktails and beer.

Major Tom is the type of place where it would be a challenge to get the exact same order on different visits. But that’s part of the joy of the restaurant, and there’s no real way to go wrong with anything on the menu. Plus, the right Champagne goes with just about everything.