Denver Restaurant Week(DRW) allows you to go to restaurants that you normally might not frequent for varying reasons, too expensive, you never heard of it, or it’s in a hotel; sometimes all of the above. I was able to pick 1876 Restaurant at the Grand Hyatt Denver based on the menu they had listed for restaurant week and I have to say, it was the best meal I’ve had in 2012.
The decor was unassuming yet very comfy, tables spaced out for privacy surrounded by soft cloth chairs you might find in your rich grandmothers house, as you sit in front of picture windows like a dining mannequin to the passersby on Welton Street.
The three course dinner had a great selection of items to please all palates, however, being foodies to the bone we added a few extras. We ordered the Mediterranean salad off the regular menu due to the seemingly lacking array of greens in the starter options. Feta, cucumber, sweet peppers, olives, and tomatoes adorned a bed of mixed greens, which was so refreshing and plentiful, everything we had was a lot of food, we ended up with a whole meal to take home.
We wanted to finish the whole delicious salad but thought better of it considering we opted for all three appetizers.
First up the crispy fried gnocchi with Avery Breweries’ Ellie’s Brown Ale pepper jam, haystack goat cheese, and a hazelnut vinagrette. The brown ale and hazelnut cut the sharp creaminess of the cheese, while the pepper jam gave it a little kick in the finish.
Our second starter was my favorite, an open faced crepe with grilled elk short rib, thai sprout slaw, and drizzled with a sriracha aioli and some toasted peanut crumbles. The perfectly cooked elk, which is way less gamey than other beef replacements such as bison, was sliced in tender bites and went well with the crunch of the slaw. The aioli didn’t saturate either, so you could really get the good flavor of the fresh veggies and lean meat.
The final appetizer choice was a fish cake with an olive and arugala salad, chopped peppered bacon, and served with a sweet carrot crema. This dish had a lot of interesting flavors mingling together, we were hard pressed to find two consecutive bites that tasted the same. This was probably our least favorite because of the lack of consistency, yet still worth the try.
The reason 1876 was on the top of my places to visit during DRW 2012 was because I saw there menu online and I am a sucker for braised lamb shank. This fall-off-the-bone appendage was atop a heap of golden beet risotto and ancho cherries, topped with arugala and walnuts and served with its braising jus of Colorado Native Lager reduction. It was so hard not to suck the bone dry on this one with each earthy, nutty, sweet, buttery bite.
Our second choice of entree was sirloin, brussel sprout and sunchoke stew whose broth was made out of miso and Left Hand Brewery Milk Stout(see a theme here…),and accompanied by carmelized onion jam. this was by far the most interesting combo and had just amazing flavor, salty, coffee, sweet, and oniony.
There was a third entree that we didn’t try but all used Colorado brewery stocks and a lot of local produce and meats.
Once again, like normal people, we ordered only two of the three choices for our 3rd course. The first was an apple bignet with a citrus dip, and was as boring as it’s name. We each took maybe two bites each and moved on to the real deal. The piece de resistance was a hot chocolate affogato, a scoop of ice cream with a shot of hot chocolate poured over top. It had Stranahans Whiskey chocolate cup with a malted milk dust in it. Also on the side was a chocolate biscuit dipped in English toffee crumbs. There were a lot of elements, but when served up together they just worked.
Like I said this meal was amazing, best of the year so far, and used a vast amount of Colorado grown or brewed products. The minute I saw this menu, I put it on the must have list and it delivered. You should definitely stop in to 1876 Restaurant at least for a Mediterranean salad and maybe you’ll fall in love with their whole menu.
For more on 1876 Restaurant: click here