Happy hour, (well, we make it into dinner) is always great at Panzano. Get there early to catch a seat, just not earlier than us! They have some great new dishes on their menu. We tried the lamb and feta pizza, our "go-to" funghi pizza, pappardelle with boar ragu (back on after a hiatus), and a new favorite, the tuna tartare.
Friday night was YSL night. Yes, we made our obligatory pilgrimage to the Denver Art Museum to see the Yves Saint Laurent show. And what a show it was! It was so much more than we expected, and the selection of pieces was phenomenal. If you haven't yet, you must make the time to visit this once in a lifetime exhibit.
After such an amazing start to our evening, we needed to go somewhere elegant with phenomenal food to satisfy our other senses. A few places came to mind but we quickly settled on Colt & Gray. I don't know how it happens that great places like this fall off the radar for us. We never had a mediocre meal here, but just didn't go back.
A couple of points that have continued to impress us: 1) The menu is always so inventive and exciting. It's difficult to make a choice because there are so many interesting takes on familiar dishes. 2) The execution is right on! We always think, "if they can pull this off, it will be amazing"...and they invariably do pull it off. 3) The service is just the right mix of friendly, familiar, knowledgeable, and informed.
Mitchell seemed to have the whole dinning room covered with rushing or missing anyone. The rest of the staff is also very well-informed and professional. Definitely one of Denver's best dinning rooms. 4) The bar...these guys know how to make a drink. And their selection is so creative. Again, Mitchell was a master at recommending the right drink, somehow making you feel like you thought of it! "Cocktail geeks" will love this place's inventive apothecary-like selections.
OK, what did we have? Pictured above is the rock fish with wild mushrooms and shaved fennel in a coconut sauce. Perfectly poached in a beautiful sauce that balanced the intensity of the fish.
We were feeling carnivorous so we had to have their burger and fries. Once again, perfectly grilled beef with beautiful salty fries. A glass of pinot noir from France rounded out this homey delight. Obviously not a dish that will rise to the gastronomical Elysian Fields, but it sure left a big smile on our shiny faces!
A stand-by at Colt & Gray is the crispy pig trotters appetizer. If you want to taste "pig", this is your dish. SO rich and flavourful. Tender pieces of pig trotters formed into a little patty, breaded and fried. Served with a rough mustard...HEAVENLY! It is very rich, so the three of us had no problem sharing.
We had to try the salad pictured above. It had pieces of duck and gizzards; what an great idea! It was quite substantial for a salad, just the right mix of bitter and sweet greens with smoky and salty meats. Also, we enjoyed the glazed carrots: mint and almonds add lovely flavors and textures to these sweet and tender carrots.
So, Colt & Grey thank you for a wonderful finish to an amazing evening of sights, textures, and tastes! We will be back...very soon.
I made it over to Tortas Grill on Colfax today. It was amazing! I had the "Jose" which consisted of ham, chorizo, egg, cheese, beans, avocado and tomato with with mayo and a chipotle sauce. A more solid torta you will not find in this town; the fact that it is close to home just makes it that much sweeter. I also tried a tamal- Queso con Rajas. Also perfectly done, moist without being mushy and a delicious filling.
I'll have to go back and get some pics and try a few items in order to put together a proper post. But I must say that the opportunity to meet the friendly folks behind Tortas Grill and to sample some of their food will mean many returns!
Here are a few mementos from the places we've been eating lately:
One of our favorite haunts for happy hour has always been Panzano'sin the Hotel Monaco. We recently made our own post happy hour-happy hour in the dinning room. Our late-night meal was centered on their fabulous Fattoria Piatto (Prosciutto d’ Parma, bresaola, duck mousse, Pecorino Gran Cru, Grana Padano, local goat cheese, sliced pear, marinated olives, cranberry orange compote, roasted garlic and grilled crostini). A couple of salads and some wine completed the beautiful repast.
A new place on our rotation lately has been the Izakaya Den on Pearl. Sitting at the sushi bar and trying to figure out what everything is can be a fun way to pass the time. Unfortunately it also makes you want to try one of everything on the menu. Granted this isn't your traditional izakaya; but the creativity of the menu, quality ingredients, and friendly staff transcend the need for a neat classification. We've enjoyed a bowl of miso soup, and then splitting the hearty chirashi bowl.
The gorgeous (and huge) dinning room at Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar by the Performing Arts Complex promises an amazing meal. We felt so content and warm in this beautiful place. The food, however, was hit-and-miss. The oysters were bity and flavorless, the marrow was sad. As kitschy as it may sound, my favorite dish was the Lyonnaise Style Wing...really, try them! We have to go back and try again, because we SO want to love this place.
Korean food has been constantly on our radar, but we've been reluctant to jump in an try it. Our first taste was actually at the solid little cafe in H-Mart on Parker Road. They have some very satisfying New Year's soup (manduguk?). Anyways, a tipster told us we had to try Silla (Yelp Reviews) on Peoria and Cornell. We tried to casually look over at our neighbors' tables to see what to expect; it didn't help. The menu doesn't give much info about portions or how to order. Not much help from the staff either. Dang we need some Korean friends!
We decided to try the pan fried dumplings. Beautiful, delicious...too many! You can choose a type of meat and either have them cook it for you, or you can grill the raw, marinated meat at the table. We chickened out and had them cook-up the bulgogi for us. One order was plenty for the two of us. Remember, it comes with a least a dozen small plates of Korean "small plates". Each one was an adventure, some were familiar, some were new and delicious, some were strange and interesting. Regardless, this is a cuisine that demands our attention; we will be back.