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GARDEN OF EATIN'

Although both land and sea are well-represented on each day's handwritten menu, on our two visits we've found the fish preparations more interesting. With the salmon ($13.50), a fillet had been pan-seared until the exterior formed a thin, crunchy crust that kept a sweet syrup of honey and bourbon from saturating the flesh of the fish and drowning out its flavor. Instead, the sweetness, with the honey picking up the bourbon's corny tones, carried over into a smattering of diced mango. (Patricia says she's since changed the fruit to blueberries because she thought the mango made the glaze too sugary; I disagree.) Seafood even appeared with the beef tenderloin ($17.50); grilled scallops somehow held their own under an enormous hunk of beef lathered in a ragout of meat juices and herbs pumped up by portabello mushrooms.

All this impassioned cooking had us primed to hear an inspired dessert list, so we were taken aback by two of the regular choices: the requisite flourless chocolate cake and the creme caramel (all desserts are $4). On our first visit we went with the least-boring offering, an apple dumpling that turned out not to be boring at all. The apple had been spiced with lots of cinnamon and gently swathed in puff pastry before being bathed in a thick caramel sauce; the bundle was warm and inviting--but would have been even better with vanilla-bean ice cream. After our second dinner, we surrendered and wound up scarfing down the smoothest of creme caramels and the lightest of flourless chocolate cakes. If Highland's Garden is going to go the conventional dessert route, at least it takes the high road.

And in the restaurant world, that's certainly the road less traveled.

Location Info

Map

Highland's Garden Cafe

3927 W. 32nd Ave.
Denver, CO 80212

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Northwest Denver

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