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Bite Me

A Square Deal

Leftovers: Bistro Vendome isn't the only place in town that's decided to dump lunch in favor of focusing on those night-crawling neighborhood crowds. In Cherry Creek, Mao realized that twenty-dollar sandwiches and Communist whorehouse decor weren't drawing the quick-lunch bunch, so it stopped serving that meal altogether. Which is good news, because the overpriced, poorly considered lobster club sandwich that was the lunch board's centerpiece was a real embarrassment ("Liar's Club," April 1).

In another hot restaurant neighborhood, Brasserie Rouge has added Sunday-brunch service. If anything can get the legions of Denver foodies downtown on a Sunday, it might be the custom Bloody Marys, peach mimosas, espresso martinis and a half-dozen royales (Massenez triple-cream liqueurs and champagne) being poured by Rouge barman Oran Feild. If those don't do it, how about scrambled eggs with crème fraîche and brioche toast points, oeufs done three ways, or applewood-smoked bacon? Rouge's kitchen is also rolling savory, saffron-spiked crepes with rock-shrimp ragout and sweet crepes with butter and sugar -- or done the way the King preferred, with roasted bananas and Nutella.

Now occupying the former home of Cafe Evangeline at 30 South Broadway is Deluxe, brought to you by Dylan Moore and Kristen Tait, the husband-and-wife team behind Decade, the vintage boutique just down the street. Moore, the chef in the family, worked under Jeremiah Tower (of Stars and Chez Panisse fame) while in the Bay Area, and Deluxe's first menu reads like the kind of border-crossing, fusiony California cuisine I thought we had seen the end of: masa-fried oyster shooters with salsa fresca, Chinese ribs and dumplings, Thai shrimp curry, Colorado lamb chops with Tuscan white beans. Still, it's a small space, with just forty-some seats for the kitchen to worry about, so while this sort of globe-trotting fusion can be dangerous in the hands of most chefs, Moore just might pull it off. After all, he trained with the guy who invented California Cuisine.

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