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Boulder and Other Points North Restaurants: A Few Ideas/Opinions


Restaurants & Bars 17

Boulder and Other Points North Restaurants: A Few Ideas/Opinions

rlm | Jan 7, 2010 07:49 PM

This is the companion piece to the Denver thread here

Salt: I’ve been for one lunch, two Sunday brunches at the bar, and one dinner so far and see many more visits in the future. The first trip at lunch did not blow me away, in part because our amateurish server looked about twelve years old and was obviously in his first job saving money to buy ringtones and Rhianna MP3s. The two specialty salts brought out are in keeping with the theme but are completely unnecessary since all of the dishes we had were sufficiently seasoned. The chicken pot pie was outstanding—parsnips, onions, carrots, turnips, rotisserie birdie, and a hollow cap of puff pastry. The sausage gravy and biscuits were a little disappointing for someone whose mother is a southern-style cook, but a nice flavor nonetheless (even though the crock it was served it made it a bit awkward to eat and the biscuits were a little on the hard side rather than fluffy and ethereal). I really loved the Hazel Dell Mushroom Omelette with goat cheese and roasted red peppers and a side of potatoes, as well as the delicious pork green chile with egg and avocado, although I longed for corn tortillas over the bread that was delivered. At dinner, we were completely blown away by the mouthwatering seven-hour braised Colorado lamb shank with potato leek mash and natural jus. A fellow diner at Frasca’s bar (who was also eating the warm veggie salad there) thankfully hipped me to Salt’s spectacular roasted squash salad with mushrooms, chevre, carmelized onions, and pumpkin seeds. I also got to sneak a taste of my better half’s tomato soup topped with a mini grilled goat cheese sandwich which was equally delicious. I was not a fan of the later years of Tom’s Tavern, but I do like that they left the logo on the side of the building and have a burger named in his honor for everyone who has fond memories of the spot.

Modmarket: This new-ish salad and soup and flatbread spot at the 29th Street Mall has a minimalist interior that reminds me of Larkburger. I was not that impressed with the multi-grain flatbread (flavor is a little off), but have been back multiple times for the addictive Cobbish. Blue cheese, tomatoes, green bean chunks, avocado, egg whites, piquillo peppers (which you don’t see that often), romaine hearts, and a superb buttermilk chili ranch dressing.

Black Cat: Enjoyed a couple of great meals last year perched on the end of the bar watching super-focused Chef Eric Skokan work and a couple with less success when he wasn’t in the house. His sous clumsily put together plates, whereas everything the chef delivered (from Turkish shrimp with chili oil to red lentil crusted salmon to duck) was touched with magic.

Dish Gourmet: Yes, they have unbelievable sandwiches, but I think what sets them apart are their ever-changing, high-quality sides. The pasta salads are a can’t-miss and there’s usually a couple to choose from (Mediterranean, ranch, penne with artichoke-garlic dressing, red pepper bowtie, etc.). Then you’ve got different potato salads, quinoa, beans, potato/veggie hash—always something delicious in the case.

Frasca Food and Wine: I got to start last year off with Marc Vetri in their kitchen serving up an unbelievable smoky foie gras pastrami, cauliflower flan, squash gnocchi and casola (pork rib and cabbage stew) and follow that up with special dinners with Nate Appleman (he of the incredible marinated short ribs) and Joe Bastianich (who was mistakenly reported in the Denver Post as being Moby). Add in the Top Chef Masters watch party on the patio, their fifth anniversary meal of classics (featuring the triumphant return of the peanut butter cup dessert), a luscious Monday menu matched with a Terry Theise grower Champagne flight, and a Masi wine dinner of ’88, ’90, ’95, and ’97 selections all served in gorgeous BV stems, and this had to be one of their best years yet. I still can’t believe we have such a world-class spot in our backyard. This is the spot that can go mano-a-mano with any place in the country.

Waterloo (Louisville): I was intrigued as a former Austin resident and patron of Waterloo Records to visit a BBQ joint started by its original owners. Mr. rlm had the brisket and it was perfect. I brought my parents in a month or so later and my dad ended up with several tough, hard bits on his brisket sandwich (which they did offer to replace). Tender, juicy pork ribs and pork shoulder sandwiches which can be washed down with Shiner Bock. The coleslaw is better than the sweet potato fries and their sauces aren’t that spectacular (for Texan rip-offs, I lean towards the XX at Wild Mountain Smokehouse in Nederland). Lovely patio.

Bitter Bar (in the back of Happy): I have not revisited the food at Happy (Noodle House), but the well-crafted cocktails at the bar have made me a fan. Slow-melting giant ice cubes for the Old Stage whiskey cocktail, house-made bitters…just lots of love and attention to detail here.

Flagstaff House: In these economic times, so few places have the balls to put actual Champagne by the glass on the list. Not Cava or Prosecco or domestic sparklers, but the real goods. This alone would make me go more often were it not for the hot lights, awkward chairs, and outdated atmosphere in the bar area that could really use a facelift. Last summer I had a fantastic soft shell crab with potatoes, corn, and mussels along with a perfect foie and sweetbreads plate. They even gave us a mini-loaf of blueberry lemon poppyseed bread to take with us.

Frasca Food & Wine
1738 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302

Flagstaff House Restaurant
1138 Flagstaff Dr, Boulder, CO 80302

1918 Pearl St Ste 100, Boulder, CO 80302

105 Edwards Village Blvd, Edwards, CO 81632

Black Cat
1964 13th Street, Boulder, CO 80302

SALT - Boulder
1047 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302

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